Singapore Tightens Rules on Death Row Inmates Filing Last Minute Appeals

    Photo: Reuters

    The Facts

    • On Tuesday, Singapore's Parliament passed the Post-Appeal Applications in Capital Cases Bill, which makes it mandatory for death row inmates to get the Court of Appeal’s permission before filing post-appeal applications to challenge their death penalty.

    • According to the new legislation, the amendments prevent “abuse of court processes” and allow prisoners awaiting capital punishment to seek a stay on their execution only “after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.”

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The death penalty is more effective than life imprisonment in curbing drug use and drug trafficking. Providing excessive avenues for convicted criminals to challenge their death sentences undermines the punishment as an effective deterrent and creates a strong possibility that more drugs and drug abusers will enter Singapore from nearby countries and cause chaos in the lives of innocent Singaporean families.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    This law has damaging implications for the due process rights of inmates on death row. Protecting human rights — especially the right to life — must come before an ideological fixation on capital punishment. Singapore must devise drug control policies to deter drug traffickers, rather than take a highly punitive and draconian approach in order to maintain public safety.

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