Judging the severity of a crime is not an easy task, however, some crimes definitely pale in comparison to others. The punishment according to the penal codes usually reflects that, but that does not seem to be the case for weed smuggling in Singapore. Presently, weed smuggling in Singapore can be punishable by death whereas heinous crimes like rape cannot even get a life sentence!
Weed Smuggling In Singapore: The Case In Question
41-year-old Omar Yacob Bamadhaj, who is a native of Singapore, had smuggled in 1kg of cannabis into Singapore from Malaysia in 2018. On 12th October 2021, the Apex Court dismissed his plea against his conviction and subsequent death sentence. As such, he will now be hanged until death.
The original verdict came in February, earlier in the year. Police had caught Bamadhaj smuggling 3 bundles of the plant which would be at least 1kg of cannabis. Singapore has zero tolerance for any kind of drug. The policy has caused the deaths of hundreds, which includes several dozen foreigners.
On 12th July 2018, Bamadhaj was stoped during a usual checkpoint at the border at Woodlands Checkpoint. It was quite deep into the night. Bamadhaj’s father was driving the vehicle. However, he had claimed to know nothing about the bundles of cannabis.
Singapore categorizes cannabis as a Class-A drug. According to Bamadhaj, he had agreed to the weed smuggling in Singapore 2 days earlier. He had collected the bundles packed in newspapers on 11th July close to a mosque. He claimed to have obtained them from Latif and Din, two friends. However, he later said that he had no clue about the contents of the package. On being questioned about the inconsistency, he said that he was semi-conscious at the moment because he had just smoked a stick of cannabis. As such, his lawyer argued that it was doubtful if the weed smuggling in Singapore was intentional on the part of Bamadhaj.
Furthermore, Bamadhaj also claimed that officers of the Central Narcotics Bureau had forced him to admit the crime. He claimed they had threatened to hang his father along with him if he did not admit it.
Drugs Are Worse Than Humanitarian Crimes In Singapore
Some Asian countries are famous for their intolerance of drugs. However, Singapore ranks the highest in that category by far. Some of the other questionable but “serious” jail-able offenses in the country include: not flushing the toilet; selling gum; sipping water while riding a train; and standing too near a child.
As for weed smuggling in Singapore, not even foreigners receive any sort of leniency. Instead of deportation, like in China or Saudi Arabia, Singapore can arrest foreigners who fail drug tests and then sentence them.
In comparison, when it comes to one of the most heinous crimes against humanity, rape, the maximum punishment is 20 years in prison and being caned a minimum of 12 times. This is the maximum even if the victim is younger than 14 years of age. Moreover, there are several factors that can mitigate the punishment. This includes being of advanced age, being too young, displaying an evident show of remorse, and if they plead guilty.
Moreover, a recent Reuters article reports on Singapore stating that weed smuggling in Singapore has worsened, even though the number of hangings has increased. Rights groups have warned of an “execution binge” happening in Singapore after several death row prisoners got their pardon requests rejected. Nevertheless, the Minister of Law in Singapore defended the present capital punishment for major drug crimes as they have the support of the public.
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