EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 36/08/94
UA 280/94 Death Penalty 20 July 1994
SINGAPORE Abdullah A. Rahman, aged 36, Malaysian national
Lim Choon Chye, aged 37
On 11 July 1994 the lawyers of Abdullah A. Rahman and Lim Choon Chye lost their
attempt to reopen the appeals of both men on the grounds of new evidence.
Amnesty International now fears that both men are at risk of imminent execution.
Abdullah A. Rahman was arrested on 21 March 1990 and sentenced to death on
29 January 1993 for trafficking 76.3gm of heroin. His co-accused, Abdul Rashid,
had testified that Abdullah was involved in the drug trafficking but he has
now retracted his testimony.
Lim Choon Chye was arrested in July 1992 after drugs were found in his room
and was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in 1993. However, another
death-row prisoner, Leong Wing Kong, has now stated that Lim Choon Chye was
not present during the drug transaction at the flat.
The Court of Appeal rejected their appeals and decided that their first decision
was final as the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear fresh evidence.
Their only hope for clemency now lies with President Ong Teng Cheong who has
the power to commute these sentences.
The death penalty was employed during the colonial period and was retained
after Singapore became an independent republic in August 1965. Anyone found
in possession of more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of morphine, 30 grams
of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis is presumed guilty of drug trafficking
and is liable to a mandatory death sentence.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the imposition of the death sentence on Abdullah A.
Rahman and Lim Choon Chye and urging the President of Singapore to commute
- urging the authorities to review the fresh evidence and to consider a retrial
in both cases;
- stating Amnesty International's unconditional opposition to the death
penalty, and urging that all existing death sentences be commuted and that
no more be imposed in the future.
His Excellency Ong Teng Cheong
Office of the President