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46-yr-old Indian descent Singaporean national hanged over 1kg cannabis

Tangaraju Suppiah
Tangaraju Suppiah

Forty-six-year-old male Singaporean national of Indian descent has been put to death by hanging on Wednesday for coordinating the delivery of cannabis.

The man whose name was given as Tangaraju Suppiah was sentenced to death in 2018 for aiding and abetting the trafficking of 1 kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of cannabis, the Guardian reports.

Before he was hanged, according to the report,Tangaraju’s relatives and activists pleaded for mercy through letters with Singapore’s President, Halimah Yacob.

According to report, in a video posted by Transformation Justice Collective, Tangaraju’s niece and nephew had shortly before he was hanged, appealed to the public ‘to raise concerns to the government over Tangaraju’s impending death’.

It was also learnt that Tangaraju had on Monday filed an application for a stay of execution which was set aside on Tuesday without hearing.

Findings revealed that in Singaporean laws, trafficking in cannabis of more than 500 grammes may attract death penalty.

It was gathered that Tangaraju was not caught with the cannabis, but prosecutors had fingered him as aiding the delivery of the drug,
through alleged phone calls, which they said, were proofs that Tangaraju was the alleged coordinator of the delivery of the cannabis.

However, Tangaraju had refuted the allegations of non-involvement in the cannabis case, particularly regarding the phone communications which he was said to have allegedly had with a syndicate linked with the case.

Concerned human right individuals and entities have raised an eyebrow against Singapore’s government’s death penalty stance on drug trafficking, especially based on the claims that government’s efforts towards curtailing activities of drug traffickers and organised syndicates are yet to yield results.

Activist Kristen Han of the Transformation Justice Collective, advocating the abolition of the death penalty in Singapore, said in a tweet that Tangaraju was hanged Wednesday morning, noting that his family had been given his death certificate.

However, Singapore’s government is said to be justifying its position on death penalty for drug traffickers, which it believes, is meant to protect its citizens.

Affirming its stand on the death penalty for drug traffickers, the government said that those executed have been given full due process under the laws of Singapore.

News watchers, however, believe that Singapore’s law on death penalty for drug traffickers is rather severe, particularly given the fact that Thailand has legalised cannabis.

Reports also disclose that Malaysia has repudiated death penalty for drugs trafficking and other serious crimes.