A Singaporean man is set to be hanged for importing 1 kilogram of cannabis from Malaysia into Singapore in 2018, Channel News Asia reports. Omar Yacob Bamadhaj, 41, was sentenced to death in February after being convicted on one count of importing cannabis into Singapore — on Tuesday, the death sentence for the conviction was upheld by Singapore’s Apex Court.
The prosecution claims that Omar pre-ordered the cannabis and collected them a day later near a mosque in Malaysia. Omar’s defense during trial was that he did not know the nature of the packages when he picked them up and that acquaintances placed the bundles in his bag without his knowledge or consent.
During a police interview on the day of his arrest, Omar said he was offered S$500 per bundle to travel with the packages and that he only accepted the deal because he was “desperate for money.” He later denied knowledge of what he was carrying, alleging that Central Narcotics Bureau officers had “coerced” his initial confession, the report says.
The Apex Court rejected Omar’s coercion claims, with Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon saying it was “difficult” to see how Omar’s two earlier statements were “involuntary.” Menon pointed out that, notwithstanding the allegation that the first officer had threatened Omar, the second statement was taken by a different officer and Omar divulged more details of how and why he imported the cannabis.
Singapore has a zero-tolerance drugs policy.
Chiara Sangiorgio, death penalty advisor for Amnesty International, decried the appeal, telling Vice that by dismissing the appeal, “the Singapore authorities have violated international safeguards and sentenced yet another person convicted of drug trafficking to death by hanging.”
“Singapore’s heavy reliance on draconian laws and policies have not only failed to tackle the use and availability of drugs,” Sangiorgio said, “they also give zero effective protection from drug-related harm and instead facilitate a raft of human rights violations.”
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