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Singapore president orders respite of execution for mentally disabled duo

Roslan Bakar had been scheduled to hang alongside Malaysian Pausi Jefridin.

Our Regional Correspondent
2 minute read
Singapore President Halimah Yacob. Photo: AFP
Singapore President Halimah Yacob. Photo: AFP

The two intellectually disabled men facing the gallows in Singapore for drug-related offences have been granted a respite by the president of the city-state, Halimah Yacob.

This means that Singaporean Roslan Bakar and Malaysian Pausi Jefridin will not be executed as scheduled.

“President has just granted a respite order and stopped/stayed the execution of Pausi,” prominent human rights lawyer M Ravi said in a Facebook post.

This comes after MalaysiaNow learnt that Roslan had been granted a respite as well.

It is understood that Halimah exercised her authority in accordance with Article 22P(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and Section 313(h) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Article 22P states, among others, that the president may, on the advice of the Cabinet, grant to any offender convicted of an offence in Singapore, a pardon, free or subject to lawful conditions, or any reprieve or respite, either indefinite or for a period deemed fit by the president, of the execution of any sentence pronounced.

Roslan and Pausi were initially scheduled for execution on Feb 16, but this was postponed after a last-ditch attempt by their lawyers to put a halt to their death sentence.

Pausi and Roslan, who were charged with trafficking 96.07g of diamorphine and 76.37g of methamphetamine in 2008, were convicted in 2010.

They failed in an appeal in 2017 to commute their death sentence to life imprisonment, despite lawyers citing medical reports on their intellectual capabilities which would render their executions illegal under Singapore laws as well as international treaties.

News of their looming executions had sparked criticism, including by the United Nations which said that the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences was incompatible with international human rights law.

UN rights office spokesman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva that capital punishment was only permitted under international law for the “most serious crimes, which is interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing.”

Their executions were eventually postponed as lawyers rushed in a last-minute bid to save them from the gallows.

Singapore has some of the world’s toughest drugs laws, and insists that the death penalty is an effective deterrent against crime.