Thursday, 18 January 2007

Singapore to hang Tochi next week

Singapore's Ministry of Home affairs has informed lawyers for a 19 year-old Nigerian that he would be executed on Friday 26 January.

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi was arrested at Changi Airport on 27 November 2004 allegedly in possession of heroin. He was sentenced to death along with Okele Nelson Malachy, 33, whose nationality cannot be confirmed.

They were convicted under Singapore's Misuse of Drugs Act, which specifies a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin.

Action in Nigeria
On 15 December 2006, Nigeria's largest human rights organisation, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), announced it would launch legal action to compel the Nigerian Government to intervene in the case.

A CLO statement said it would take action in the federal high court in an attempt to force the government to file a complaint against Singapore in the International Court of Justice. In August, the Nigerian Parliament voted down a motion calling on the government to appeal for clemency in the case.

CLO said the trial judge found Tochi innocent on the facts of the case, and yet "went on to find Tochi guilty, in contradiction to his own findings of fact".

It said there was also "a clear case of racial discrimination against African nationals", with lawyers from the organisation refused access to the prisoner, despite acting under instructions from his family.

The statement said the "Singaporean authority could not have done this to an American or a German national".

Related stories:
Nigeria won't act to save man in Singapore -- 01 September, 2006
Singapore forum against death penalty -- 21 August , 2006

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