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Singapore to execute man over cannabis trafficking

Tangaraju’s sister Leela Suppiah (centre) with activists. Photo: BBC

Singapore will on Wednesday hang a man for trafficking cannabis.

Activists say Tangaraju Suppiah was convicted on weak evidence, however, Authorities denied the claims insisting the case went through due process.

Singapore has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, which it says are necessary to protect society.

Both his family members and activists have recently written to the president in a plea for clemency. British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has also called for a review of the case.

In 2013, Tangaraju was convicted of “abetting by engaging in a conspiracy to traffic” over a delivery of 1kg of cannabis from Malaysia to Singapore.

The BBC reports that though he was not caught during the delivery, prosecutors accused him of coordinating the process, and traced two phone numbers used by a deliveryman back to him.

Tangaraju who claimed he was not the person communicating with others connected to the case, said he lost one of the phones and denied owning the second one.

Singapore law mandates the death penalty for drug trafficking and has lesser penalties for couriers.

In his last appeal, the judge agreed with the prosecution that Tangaraju was responsible for coordinating the delivery, which made him ineligible for a more lenient sentence.

Activists have also raised concerns that Tangaraju was not given adequate access to an interpreter and had to argue his last appeal on his own since his family was unable to secure a lawyer.

Singapore authorities however said Tangaraju requested for an interpreter only during the trial, and not earlier. They added that he had access to legal counsel throughout the process.

Writing by Annabel Nwachukwu