Zoom's capital punishment in Singapore

24th May 2020
"The 37-year-old man was convicted of selling at least 28.5 grams of heroin, a crime punishable by death under strict Singaporean anti-drug law."

A report in AFP states that Singapore court sentenced a man to the death penalty via the Zoom video conferencing application, a city-first for the first time, which was widely criticized by human rights defenders.

Malaysian drug trafficker Punithan Genasan was sentenced to death by hanging on Friday during a remote hearing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, judicial officials in the Southeast Asian country said.

The 37-year-old man was convicted of selling at least 28.5 grams of heroin, a crime punishable by death under strict Singaporean anti-drug law.

It is the first time that capital punishment has been passed during a remote hearing, the Supreme Court said.

The Zoom video conferencing application has grown in popularity around the world due to containment, but Human Rights Watch said the technology was completely inappropriate for passing such a sentence.

"The death penalty is inherently cruel and inhuman, and it is even worse when Singapore uses technology like Zoom to sentence a man to death," said Asia organization deputy director Phil Robertson.

"It is unbelievable that the prosecution and the court are so insensitive and that they do not understand that a man threatened with the death penalty has the right to appear in court to see the accusation," he said. he continued, questioned by AFP.

The Supreme Court said that the hearing was organized remotely "for the safety of all those involved in the proceedings".

Like many countries, Singapore has asked residents to stay home and shut down non-essential businesses.

The city-state had initially succeeded in containing the spread of the virus but is currently facing a second wave which mainly affects its population of migrant workers housed in large dormitories, which have become breeding grounds for contamination.

Singapore has registered more than 29,000 cases of contamination but managed to limit the number of coronavirus deaths to 22.

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Compiled by : Debashish S Neupane Debashish S Neupane