Appeals against the executions have gone unheeded (AP)

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Two drug traffickers were hanged in Singapore on Thursday, bringing the number of executions this year in the city-state to four despite growing calls for the abolition of the death penalty.
Activists said the prison department handed over the personal effects and death certificates of Malaysian national Kalwant Singh and Singaporean Norasharee Gous to their families after their executions on Thursday morning.
Amnesty International said Singapore was one of four countries known to have executed people for drug-related offenses in recent years, bucking the global trend to abolish the death penalty.
“Singapore has once again executed people convicted of drug offences, in violation of international law, in defiance of public outcry,” said Emerlynne Gill, Deputy Regional Director of Research at Amnesty International.
“The death penalty is never the solution and we oppose it unconditionally. There is no evidence that it acts as a sole crime deterrent,” Gill said in a statement.
Kalwant, who was convicted in 2016 of smuggling heroin into Singapore, was the second Malaysian to be executed in less than three months. In late April, the hanging of another Malaysian sparked international outcry because he was believed to be mentally handicapped.
Kalwant filed a last-minute appeal on the eve of his execution on the grounds that he was just a courier and cooperated with the police, but it was dismissed by Singapore’s highest court, activists said.
Critics say Singapore’s death penalty has mostly ensnared low-level mules and done little to stop drug traffickers and organized syndicates. But the Singapore government defends it as necessary to protect its citizens.
“We urge the Singaporean authorities to immediately stop this latest wave of hangings and impose a moratorium on executions as a step towards ending this shameful and inhumane punishment,” Amnesty said.
Four other drug traffickers, including two other Malaysians, were due to be hanged earlier, but their executions have been delayed pending legal challenges.

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