Singapore took steps to roll back the mandatory death penalty, but the media remained tightly controlled and dissidents continued to face political repression. Laws on arbitrary detention and judicial caning remained.
The government stated in July that it would review laws on the mandatory death penalty for murder and drug trafficking. In October, the government proposed amendments which would allow for discretionary sentencing in some drug trafficking cases, including where the suspect acted only as a courier or co-operated substantively with the Central Narcotics Bureau. Moreover, the Appellate Court would be required to review the legality of each death sentence before execution.
The government stated that executions were deferred during this review. There were at least 32 people on death row by the end of the year.Top of page
Judicial caning – a practice amounting to torture or other ill-treatment – continued as a punishment for a wide range of criminal offences.
Drug traffickers sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the mandatory death penalty would be liable to caning under proposed amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act.Top of page
Opposition activists, including former prisoners of conscience, continued to voice their opinions online, in books and in public meetings, but repression of political dissidents was widespread.