All lies, says Singapore on claim of brutal execution of prisoners

The Changi Prison in Singapore, where Malaysian rights group Lawyers for Liberty says extrajudicial killings have been carried out. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Singapore government has rejected allegations of brutal extra-legal execution methods at the Changi Prison, calling them “scurrilous” and an attention-seeking stunt by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) who made the claims last week.

“LFL has been publishing various falsehoods to seek attention in hopes of getting Malaysian prisoners, who have been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Singapore, off the death penalty.

“Those who traffic drugs in Singapore, harm and destroy the lives of countless Singaporeans. These traffickers must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions,” the home ministry said in a statement.

LFL, a vocal opponent of Singapore’s death penalty in the wake of a series of hangings carried out on Malaysians convicted of drug offences in the republic, had claimed it received evidence of brutal execution methods by prison guards in the event the hanging procedure fails during an execution.

In a statement on Jan 16, LFL’s N Surendran said whenever the rope breaks during a hanging, a prison officer would pull the rope around the neck of the prisoner towards him.

“Meanwhile, another prison officer will apply pressure by pulling the body in the opposite direction.”

Saying the details were shared by a former executioner at Changi Prison, Surendran said prison guards would kick the convict’s back “with great force in order to break it”, while ensuring there would be no tell-tale marks in case there is an autopsy.

Singapore’s home ministry said the claims were “untrue, baseless and preposterous allegations”, adding that all judicial executions in the state were carried out in strict compliance with the law.

This included the presence of the prison chief, a medical doctor, as well as a coroner’s confirmation within 24 hours that the execution was carried out properly.

“For the record, the rope used for judicial executions has never broken before,” said the home ministry, adding that it would have “thoroughly investigated” claims of brutal killing methods if they existed.