Published:  12:29 AM, 12 October 2017

'Singapore's death penalty reform flawed'

Singapore's reforms to its use of the death penalty are flawed, with some low-level drug offenders still being denied leniency and sent to the gallows, Amnesty International said Wednesday. After years of criticism from rights groups, the city-state in 2013 eased the requirement for mandatory death sentences in some drug trafficking and murder cases.

The changes gave judge's discretion to impose life imprisonment instead of the death penalty in certain cases. In a new report, Amnesty acknowledged the number of people sent to the gallows had fallen but added that courts still impose death sentences when more leniencies could be shown.

"The reforms introduced in 2013 were a step in the right direction and have allowed some people to escape the gallows, but in key respects they have been flawed from the outset," said Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty's death penalty adviser. After the changes, judges can impose life imprisonment on drug couriers who give "substantive" cooperation.

-AFP, Singapore

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