BANGKOK (17 November 2016) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia calls on Singapore to urgently halt the scheduled execution of Nigerian national Chijioke Stephen Obioha, and urges the Government to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Chijioke Stephen Obioha, who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in April 2007, is due to be hanged on 18 November.
Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for “the most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of “most serious crimes”. Furthermore, under domestic law, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences.
“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse,” said Laurent Meillan, the acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office. “The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective.”
Chijioke was arrested on April 9th 2007 with 2,604.56 grammes of cannabis in Singapore. He was charged, found guilty and sentenced to death in November 2008.