Amnesty International Malaysia has urged Putrajaya to explore all avenues to halt the execution of Kho Jabing in Singapore set for Friday.
The NGO’s executive director Shamini Darshni said that while they did not seek to downplay the seriousness of the Sarawakian’s crime or its consequences, the re-imposition of a death sentence by the Court of Appeal in a split 3-2 decision on the basis of an unclear reconstruction of the facts makes the case for clemency more compelling.
“By rejecting Kho Jabing’s clemency appeal, the government of Singapore failed to fulfil the purpose of ensuring justice and fairness in the legal process, and curtailed the spirit of its own reform efforts aimed at reducing reliance on the death penalty as a means of administering justice,” she said in a statement today.
It was reported, however, that the Sarawak government will not interfere in Kho’s case as he was not convicted of the crime in Malaysia.
Minister Tan Sr Dr James Masing reportedly said that it was inappropriate for the Malaysian authorities to interfere in Singapore’s court system.
He also said Kho’s case should be taken as a lesson to others not to violate any law, wherever they were.
In July 2010, Kho was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2008 murder of construction worker, Cao Ruyin, a Chinese national, at a time when execution was the mandatory sentence for murder in Singapore.
However, in 2012, there was a review of the island state’s mandatory death penalty laws, which paved the way for discretionary sentencing for cases of murder in which there is no intention to cause death.
According to Amnesty, in April 2013, the Court of Appeal confirmed that Kho’s case met the revised definition of murder for which discretion is allowed, and remitted his case to the High Court for re-sentencing.
In November 2013, the High Court re-sentenced Kho, from Miri in Sarawak, to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.
This reprieve was, however, short-lived as the prosecution appealed against the decision and in January this year, the Court of Appeal reimposed the death sentence on Kho in a 3-2 decision.
Kho’s appeal for clemency from the president of Singapore in April this year was rejected.
Shamini said that Kho’s seven years in prison have been extremely difficult on him and his family, during which time his father passed away, leaving his mother and sister to survive on RM150 per month in welfare assistance.
Kho’s himself only studied until primary six, after which he quit school to support his family financially, leaving Miri in 2007 to find work in Singapore in pursuit of better wages.
“Given that Cao Ruyin’s family may be in a similar circumstance, the loss of another life would only compound the tragedy in this story, doing little to further the ends of justice.
“Thus, beyond evidentiary uncertainties and substantive judicial disagreement, imposing the death penalty fails to properly account for the principles of justice to the accused, and the provision of mercy,” Shamini added. – November 4, 2015.
- Sarawak won’t interfere in Kho Jabing’s Singapore execution, state minister says [4 Nov 2015]
- Sister makes final plea for Sarawakian Kho Jabing’s life as Friday execution nears [3 Nov 2015]
- Halt the execution of Kho Jabing ― ADPAN Executive Committee [3 Nov 2015]
- Halt the execution of Kho Jabing [3 Nov 2015]
- Killer’s final appeal turned down [30 Oct 2015]
- Singapore: Halt imminent execution of Malaysian national [29 Oct 2015]
- President rejects clemency plea of Malaysian in unique case [28 Oct 2015]