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Man sentenced to dying by way of Zoom phone


A see of the Supreme Court docket constructing towards the backdrop of the skyline of Singapore’s central enterprise district Could 27, 2016.

A decide in Singapore has sentenced a gentleman to demise by way of a Zoom online video-call for his function in a drug deal, one particular of just two known circumstances in which a cash punishment verdict has been shipped remotely.

Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-outdated Malaysian, was told on Friday he would be hanged for masterminding a 2011 heroin transaction, court docket files confirmed, as the country was below lockdown to try out and control its coronavirus outbreak.

“For the security of all concerned in the proceedings, the listening to for Community Prosecutor v Punithan A/L Genasan was conducted by video clip-conferencing,” a spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Courtroom reported in response to Reuters’ queries, citing limitations imposed to minimise virus distribute.

It was the to start with prison situation in which a loss of life sentence was pronounced by distant listening to in Singapore, the spokesperson added.

Rights teams have criticised the use of online video-phone calls for money punishment verdicts, which includes a situation in Nigeria before this month which felony justice watchdog Fair Trials mentioned was the to start with demise sentence to be delivered remotely.

Genasan’s law firm, Peter Fernando, said he did not item to Friday’s judgment staying delivered on Zoom.

He explained the judge could be heard evidently and as it was the verdict no other authorized arguments have been presented. However, he stated, his client is taking into consideration an appeal from the verdict.

California-dependent tech firm Zoom did not react to a ask for for comment built by way of its representatives in Singapore. The Lawyer General’s Chambers, the public prosecutor in the scenario, did not instantly have remark.

A lot of court hearings in Singapore have been adjourned in the course of a lockdown period that commenced in early April and is due to run right until June 1, though circumstances considered crucial have been held remotely.

Singapore has a zero-tolerance plan for unlawful medications and has hanged hundreds of folks – which include dozens of foreigners – for narcotics offences around past many years, rights groups say.

“Singapore’s use of the dying penalty is inherently cruel and inhumane, and the use of distant technological know-how like Zoom to sentence a man to loss of life will make it even much more so,” reported Human Legal rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson.

Amnesty International’s dying penalty advisor Chiara Sangiorgio reported: “Whether by using Zoom or in man or woman, a dying sentence is constantly cruel and inhumane.

“This case is yet another reminder that Singapore proceeds to defy international law and criteria by imposing the death penalty for drug trafficking.”

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