A judge in Singapore has sentenced a man to death via a Zoom video–call for his role in a drug deal, one of just two known cases where a capital punishment verdict has been delivered remotely.
Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-old Malaysian, was told on Friday he would be hanged for masterminding a 2011 heroin transaction, court documents showed, as the country was under lockdown to try and curb its coronavirus outbreak.
It was the first criminal case where a death sentence was pronounced by remote hearing in Singapore, the spokesperson added.
Rights groups have criticised the use of video-calls for capital punishment verdicts, including a case in Nigeria earlier this month which criminal justice watchdog Fair Trials said was the first death sentence to be delivered remotely.
He said the judge could be heard clearly and as it was the verdict no other legal arguments were presented. However, he said, his client is considering an appeal against the verdict.
Singapore has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs and has hanged hundreds of people – including dozens of foreigners – for narcotics offences over past decades, rights groups say.
“This case is another reminder that Singapore continues to defy international law and standards by imposing the death penalty for drug trafficking.”