Singapore judge gave a man death sentence via Zoom app for drug peddling

PunithanGenasan, a 37-year-old mastermind, was sentenced to death by the Singapore judge via the Zoom app video call. The death sentence was given as he was the mastermind of the heroin peddling case of 2011. 

Singapore is currently in lockdown to curb the spread of the Corona outbreak. Still, as it was a criminal case, the hearing needed to be urgent, and it became the first case of Singapore where the death sentence was passed via video conferencing. 

The spokesperson of the Supreme Court of Singapore responded to the question on Reuters that, “For the safety of all involved in the proceedings, the hearing for Public Prosecutor v Punithan A/L Genasan was conducted by video-conferencing.”

Although the lawyer of the criminal Ganesan, Peter Fernando, did not object the verdict passed on Zoom App as he stated that the audio-video was clear. However, Peter Fernando, the lawyer, will appeal against the punishment. 

When asked by the representative of California based company Zoom App, its Singapore representative did not give any comment on the decision or the use of the Zoom app to make the verdict. Even the public prosecutor did not have any comments on the same. 

Singapore has a strict policy for illegal drugs peddling and abuse. Due to the zero-tolerance policy, many convicts have been hanged to death due to illegal drug possession, trade, and peddling. As many cases were adjourned since the lockdown, the judge considered it a crucial case and gave the verdict without adjourning it any further. 

“Singapore’s use of the death penalty is inherently cruel and inhumane, and the use of remote technology like Zoom to sentence a man to death makes it even more so,” said Human Rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson. He even added, “This case is another reminder that Singapore continues to defy international law and standards by imposing the death penalty for drug trafficking.”