Al Jazeera has an article today about the "debate" over Singapore's change two weeks ago in its mandatory death penalty law for drugs and murder. The South China Post reports on Asia's shift against the death penalty.
First, Singapore's change in drug cases is de minimus. It applies only to couriers who agree to become snitches and those who with mental abnormalities.
Couriers who rat out bigger fish can apply for a "certificate of cooperation" from the prosecution. Since most couriers don't know anything about the larger organization, this is just a license to make things up. If the authorities suspect person X of being a big trafficker, and ask a courier to confirm their suspicion, what courier is going to admit "I don't know" when that answer means the gallows.
The mental exemption applies only to those "suffering from such an abnormality of mind that it substantially impaired his mental responsibility for committing the offence".
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Shades of teenager Michael Fay, only this time it's a Florida businessman who overstayed his visa. Sinapore is deciding whether to impose caning as a punishment on Kamari Charlton, 37, a former Florida State University college football player who owns a construction company in Florida.
Charlton's case is unique, his defense team argues. His wife was in the country on a six-month medical visa, while he was on a three-month tourist visa. Unlike most offenders who overstay, Maaran said, Charlton was not in Singapore to take advantage of its strong economy by working illegally. He overstayed by 169 days, according to court documents.
Charlton was arrested as he was leaving Singapore with his pregnant wife. He also faces six months in jail.[More...]
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