Singapore on Wednesday hanged a prisoner convicted of conspiracy to smuggle one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cannabis, authorities said, ignoring international calls for the city-state to abolish capital punishment.
“Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, had his capital sentence carried out today at Changi Prison Complex,” a spokesman for the Singapore Prison Service told Agence France-Presse.
The United Nations Human Rights Office had pressed Singapore earlier Tuesday to “urgently reconsider” the execution.
Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, was convicted of conspiracy to traffic 1,017.9 grams (35.9 ounces) of cannabis, twice the amount that merits the death sentence in the city-state.
It marks Singapore’s first execution in six months, and the 12th since last year.
The Asian financial hub has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, and insists the death penalty remains an effective deterrent against trafficking.
The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights disagrees.
“The death penalty is still being used in a small number of countries, largely because of the myth that it deters crime,” the OHCHR said in a statement prior to the execution.
“We have concerns around due process and respect for fair trial guarantees. The U.N. Human Rights Office calls on the authorities not to proceed with his execution,” it added.
Earlier, British billionaire Richard Branson had also urged Singapore to halt Tangaraju’s execution.
Branson, a member of the Geneva-based Global Commission on Drug Policy, wrote on his blog on Monday that Tangaraju was “not anywhere near” the drugs at the time of his arrest, and that Singapore may be about to put an innocent man to death.
Singapore’s Home Affairs Ministry said in response on Tuesday that Tangaraju’s guilt had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Branson showed “disrespect for Singapore’s judges and our criminal justice system with such allegations”, it added.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in many parts of the world, including in neighboring Thailand, and rights groups have been calling for Singapore to abolish capital punishment.
Tangaraju’s family had requested a retrial.
Singapore resumed executions in March 2022 after a hiatus of more than two years.
Among those hanged was Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, whose execution sparked global outcry, including from the United Nations and Branson, because he was deemed to have a mental disability.
Singapore invited Branson to a televised debate on the death penalty last year but the billionaire businessman declined, saying authorities should instead engage with local rights activists.