Singapore is set to hang a total of four prisoners in the coming days, a record number of executions in the city-state matched only by the recent state executions of four democracy activists in Myanmar.
It is understood that there will be double executions on Aug 2 and 5, ahead of Singapore's first post-pandemic National Day celebration on Aug 9.
MalaysiaNow has learnt that one of the four prisoners is a Malaysian who was among 17 death row prisoners involved in a historic suit against the Singapore government, accusing it of ethnic bias in their prosecutions.
Another fellow plaintiff set to be hanged is Abdul Rahim Shapiee, a 45-year-old Singaporean Malay.
Singapore has so far executed two of the plaintiffs, whose suit was thrown out last year, and whose lawyers were slapped with heavy fines over charges of "abusing the process".
Human rights campaigner Kokila Annamalai said Rahim's family was notified of his impending execution this morning.
"His sister, who received the call while alone at work, is rushing to see him after Friday prayers today," the vocal anti-death penalty activist said in a series of Twitter posts.
"She is one of the most active members of our Family Support Network, often providing care, comfort and support to other family members. Today, her world comes crashing down," she added.
It is understood that the families of the three other prisoners have not consented to the publication of their names.
All four were convicted of charges under Singapore's draconian drug laws, which have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months.
Lawyers and activists have pointed out that those executed are mostly from poor families, hired as mules by drug kingpins who have largely escaped arrest, an argument that Singapore courts have rejected.
The frequency of the executions had also prompted Amnesty International to urge the international community to step up the pressure against Singapore.
"Rather than having a unique deterrent effect on crime, these executions only show the utter disregard the Singaporean authorities have for human rights and the right to life," the global rights group said on July 22, the day that Nazeri Lajim, a 64-year-old Singaporean who had been addicted to drugs since the age of 14, was executed.
A day earlier, Nazeri, who could not get a counsel to represent him amid the climate of fear following actions against lawyers representing death row prisoners, made a desperate plea to the judges for more time to see his family members before his execution.
The PAP-led government has rejected calls for a review of the drug penalty, insisting that it has been effective even as neighbouring Malaysia announced that it was abolishing its mandatory death penalty.
In just over three months since February, Singapore has carried out six hangings, including that of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian diagnosed with a low IQ, which made his execution illegal under international treaties as well as the Singapore constitution.
Nagaenthran was hanged in April despite pleas for leniency from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as well as British aviation magnate Richard Branson.