Singapore: Man sentenced to death via Zoom in 'cruel and inhumane' move by authorities

Supreme Court handed 37-year-old Malaysian national Punithan Genasan a death sentence for his conviction of drugs trafficking

Singapore continues to defy international law and standards by imposing the death penalty for drug trafficking

‘At a time when attention is focused on saving and protecting lives in a pandemic, the pursuit of the death penalty is all the more abhorrent’ - Chiara Sangiorgio

Responding to news that a court in Singapore has sentenced a man to death via Zoom video call, Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International’s death penalty advisor, said:

“Whether via Zoom or in person, a death sentence is always cruel and inhumane. 

“This case is another reminder that Singapore continues to defy international law and standards by imposing the death penalty for drug trafficking, and as a mandatory punishment.

“This must end now. Singapore is only one of four countries known to still execute people for drug-related offences, according to Amnesty International research. It is high time the government reviewed its draconian approach and abolished the death penalty once and for all. 

“At a time when the global attention is focused on saving and protecting lives in a pandemic, the pursuit of the death penalty is all the more abhorrent.”

Virtual sentencing in a pandemic

On 20 May, a spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Court confirmed that 37-year-old Malaysian national Punithan Genasan had received a death sentence for his conviction on drugs trafficking charges. 

Genasan was found to have been complicit in trafficking heroin in 2011. He denied any involvement, but his defence was rejected on Friday.

The country has been under quarantine measures since early April, following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases linked to migrant workers. Court cases considered essential have been held remotely, though many others have been adjourned.

The decision was communicated by Zoom on Friday 15 May. Genasan and his lawyer are considering whether to appeal the ruling.

View latest press releases