Singapore Urged To End ‘Barbaric’ Punishment

Human Rights Watch (HRW) today urged the Singapore government to “immediately and unconditionally” abolish caning as a punishment for crimes.

The call came just hours before the Singapore Court of Appeal was to hear the case of Malaysian national Yong Vui Kong. Yong was found guilty of drug trafficking in 2008.

His death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment and caning. His lawyer is in court today to challenge the caning part of the sentence.

In a press statement released early today, HRW Deputy Director (Asia) Phil Robertson said he hoped the Court of Appeal would recognise the damage that continued use of caning would do to respect for human rights in Singapore.

Describing caning as a “barbaric, colonial era throwback that constitutes cruel and unusual punishment,” he said the court should rule to end the “heinous” practice.

“Every time a prisoner is caned in Singapore, whether it be for vandalism, illegal entry, or something else, it is a dark stain on Singapore’s justice and its reliance on this systematic use of torture to punish people,” he added.

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