Singapore Hangs Tochi AND Malachy; Photos of Vigil for Tochi Friday, Jan 26 2007 

article19: I originally posted this on my blog about 9.30am. I have updated it since learning of not One but Two executions. I believe quite a number, including me, are shocked & surprised that Okeke Nelson Malachy was also hanged today. There was no indication or news of the date of his hanging before today. At least not that I knew of. I have no words to describe this rush to kill. <shaking my head>

Singapore hangs Nigerian drug smuggler

SINGAPORE, Jan 26 (Reuters) at 8.57am – Singapore hanged a 21-year-old Nigerian man for drug smuggling on Friday, despite pleas from the Nigerian president, the United Nations and international human rights groups to spare his life.

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi was hanged at about 6 a.m. (2200 GMT) at the city-state’s Changi prison, Stanley Seah, assistant superintendent at Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau, told Reuters.

No further details were immediately available.

Tochi was arrested at Singapore’s Changi Airport in November 2004 for carrying about 727 grams (25.6 ounces) of heroin.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the Singapore government on Tuesday to grant a reprieve to Tochi, who was a champion football player in Nigeria according to human rights group Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

In Geneva, the United Nations’ special investigator for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said on Thursday that Singapore would be violating international legal standards on the use of the death penalty if it went ahead with the hanging.

The death sentence is mandatory for anyone caught carrying more than 15 grams of heroin in Singapore, which enforces one of the harshest anti-drug laws in the world. – Reuters

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Two African drug traffickers hanged in Singapore, AFP, 26 Jan at 9.56am

Singapore has hanged two convicted African drug traffickers after their appeals for clemency were turned down, according to the Central Narcotics Bureau said.

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, 21, of Nigeria, and 35-year-old Okeke Nelson Malachy, who Amnesty International said was believed to be from South Africa, were sent to the gallows at Changi Prison.

The narcotics bureau in a statement said Malachy was stateless.

Tochi was arrested on November 27, 2004, at Singapore’s Changi Airport while attempting to smuggle 727.02 grams (more than 25 ounces) of heroin, while Malachy was charged for “having abetted the commission of the offence.”

Under Singapore’s tough anti-drug laws, the death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis.

“The appeals of both Tochi and Malachy to the Court of Appeal and to the President (S.R. Nathan) for clemency have been turned down. Their sentences were carried out this morning at Changi Prison,” the bureau said. – AFP

Statement by CNB

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi (Tochi), a 21-year old Nigerian was charged for importing into Singapore a controlled drug under section 7 of The Misuse of Drugs Act (Chapter 185). Okeke Nelson Malachy (Malachy), aged 35, stateless, was charged for having abetted the commission of the offence of importing into Singapore a controlled drug under section 7 read with section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Chapter 185). The Misuse of Drugs Act provides that the death penalty is mandatory if the amount of diamorphine or pure heroin imported exceeds 15g. Tochi had unlawfully brought into Singapore 727.02g of high grade pure heroin worth about $1.5 million.

The appeals of both Tochi and Malachy to the Court of Appeal and to the President for clemency have been turned down. Their sentences were carried out this morning at Changi Prison.

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Vigil by Reuters 1
Human rights lawyer M. Ravi (R) and opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Chee Siok Chin light candles in front of a soccer jersey belonging to Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi during a vigil outside Changi Prison in Singapore January 25, 2007. The 21-year-old Nigerian is set to be hanged for drug smuggling in Singapore on Friday morning, despite international protests and a last-minute hunger strike by Singaporean civil rights activists. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Vigil by Reuters 2
Chee Soon Juan (L), leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and human rights lawyer M. Ravi (R) attend a vigil for Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi outside Changi Prison in Singapore January 25, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Vigil by Reuters 3
A human rights activist takes a picture of candles surrounding Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi’s portraits during a vigil outside the Singapore Changi Prison January 26, 2007. Tochi is set to be hanged for drug smuggling in Singapore on Friday morning, despite international protests and a last-minute hunger strike by Singaporean civil rights activists. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the Singapore government on Tuesday to grant a reprieve to Tochi, who was a champion football player in Nigeria according to human rights group, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Vigil by Reuters 4
Flowers are placed in front of Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi’s portraits during a vigil outside the Singapore Changi Prison January 26, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Vigil by Reuters 5
A human rights activist looks at a soccer jersey belonging to Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi during a vigil outside the Singapore Changi Prison January 26, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Vigil by Reuters 6

Vigil by Reuters 7
A human rights activist places a flower in front of a soccer jersey belonging to Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi during a vigil outside the Singapore Changi Prison January 26, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Vigil by Reuters 8
Human rights activists sit in front of a soccer jersey belonging to Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi during a vigil outside the Singapore Changi Prison January 26, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

More photos of the hunger strike & vigil

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Tochi’s Final 5hrs Friday, Jan 26 2007 

mourning

I’m switching off my PC and going for a very long walk

UN Rights Expert Calls On Singapore Not To Carry Out Execution Friday, Jan 26 2007 

I originally posted this on my blog on 25 Jan 2007 at 2308hrs.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the United Nations Human Rights Council issued the following statement today:

Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the United Nations Human Rights Council, today called on the Government of Singapore not to proceed with the planned execution of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, a Nigerian citizen. Mr Tochi was sentenced to death for attempting to traffic diamorphine (heroin) into Singapore in November 2004 and is scheduled to be executed by hanging on 26 January 2007.

“It is a fundamental human right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Alston said. “The standard accepted by the international community is that capital punishment may be imposed only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts.” Alston indicated that these rights are recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. “Singapore cannot reverse the burden and require a defendant to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he didn’t know that he was carrying drugs,” Alston said.

The trial judge appears to have accepted that Mr Tochi might not have realized that the capsules he was carrying contained heroin, stating that “[t]here was no direct evidence that he knew the capsules contained diamorphine, or that he had found that out on his own” but that “ignorance did not exculpate him”. He was convicted and sentenced to death. (The death sentence is mandatory for the offence of trafficking more than 15 grammes of heroin.) The appeal court rejected the trial court’s suggestion that it was irrelevant whether Mr Tochi had knowledge of what he was carrying. Nevertheless, it upheld his conviction. The appeal court reasoned that under Singapore law such knowledge is presumed until the defendant rebuts that presumption “on a balance of probabilities”, concluding that, “It is not sufficient for [a defendant] merely to raise a reasonable doubt.” His appeals have been exhausted and, reportedly, his petition for clemency has been rejected.

Alston said that the execution of Mr Tochi would violate international legal standards relating to the imposition of the death penalty. “One of the tasks given to me by the UN Human Rights Council is to monitor states’ respect for those safeguards in order to protect the human rights of those facing the death penalty,” Alston said. “In the case of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, the Government of Singapore has failed to ensure respect for the relevant legal safeguards. Under the circumstances, the execution should not proceed.”

Alston also said that Singapore law making the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking was inconsistent with international human rights standards. “Singapore’s decision to make the death penalty mandatory keeps judges from considering all of the factors relevant to determining whether a death sentence would be permissible in a capital case,” Alston said.

Mr Tochi’s co-defendant, Okele Nelson Malachy of South Africa, was convicted of having abetted Mr Tochi’s offence and was also sentenced to death. There has reportedly been no date set for his execution, but it would raise similar grave human rights issues.

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No review of death sentence for Nigerian convicted of drug trafficking
By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 25 January 2007 2356 hrs

SINGAPORE : Singapore will not review the death sentence for Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi who was caught for importing over 700 grammes of diamorphine into Singapore in 2004.

In a letter, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong assured Nigeria’s President, Olusegun Obasanjo, that all factors relevant to the case had been considered.

These include the petition for clemency made to President SR Nathan by Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner Dr Ozichi Joel Alimole, and a recent letter from the Nigerian President requesting Singapore to review the sentence.

Mr Lee said the amount of illegal drugs brought in by Mr Tochi amounts to more than 48,000 doses of heroin on the streets – enough to destroy many lives and families.

He said he also realises that Mr Tochi’s family will find Singapore’s position difficult to accept.

But the government has a duty to safeguard the interests of Singaporeans, and protect lives that would otherwise be ruined by drug syndicates. – CNA/ms