EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 36/18/95
UA 143/95 Death penalty 20 June 1995
SINGAPORE Navarat Maykha (f), 32, Thai national, cook
Amnesty International is concerned that Navarat Maykha may soon be executed.
The 32-year-old Thai woman was sentenced to death in July 1994 for importing
3.2 kg of heroin into Singapore the previous year. Navarat's appeal against
her conviction was rejected in October 1994. In February this year her lawyer
submitted a petition for clemency to the President of Singapore. This is the
final stage in capital cases in the island republic.
Navarat Maykha, an uneducated mother of two children, claims she was tricked
into carrying drugs by a Nigerian acquaintance in Bangkok. He reportedly told
her that he was in the garments business and persuaded her to carry what she
believed was just a bag of clothes to Singapore. She was arrested at Changi
Airport when officials discovered the drugs concealed inside the lining of
The death penalty was employed in Singapore during the colonial period and
was retained after the country became an independent republic in August 1965.
Amnesty International is aware of at least 28 executions which have taken
place since the beginning of 1995, the majority for drugs-related offences.
However, the organization fears that the real figure may be much higher as
many executions are not publicized. According to the Ministry of Information,
76 people were executed in Singapore in 1994. The President has discretionary
powers to commute death sentences, but clemency is rarely granted.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The organization is concerned that the death penalty is often imposed on those
with fewer resources available for their defence, or whose social status has
made them vulnerable to unfair conviction. The risk of error in applying the
death penalty is inescapable, yet the penalty is irrevocable.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes or telegrams either in English or in
your own language:
- urging the President to commute the death sentence passed on Navarat Maykha;
- expressing Amnesty International's opposition to the death penalty as the
ultimate form of cruel punishment and a violation of the most basic of human
rights, the right to life;
- urging that all existing and pending death sentences be commuted.
His Excellency Ong Teng Cheong
Office of the President
Istana, Orchard Road
Republic of Singapore 0922
Telegrams: President Ong Teng Cheong, Singapore
Faxes: +65 738 4673
Salutation: Your Excellency