Singapore hangs Tangaraju Suppiah in 1kg cannabis case after court dismisses last-ditch review application

The world ended in an execution chamber for Tangaraju Suppiah this morning at the Prison Link Centre, Changi, in Singapore, after his last-ditch review application was thrown out by a Singapore court yesterday.

Singaporean Tamil man Tangaraju Suppiah spent nine years in jail before being executed on April 26 at Changi prison. Picture courtesy: Twitter/@Kokilaparvathi

In a brief statement to news agencies, a spokesman for the Singapore Prison Service said today, “Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, had his capital sentence carried out today at Changi Prison Complex.”

There had been an international outcry for days and days over this execution in a marijuana (cannabis) trafficking case, with calls to stop it from individuals like the British billionaire Richard Branson and global bodies like the United Nations. The family of Tangaraju had pleaded for a retrial and submitted a mercy petition to the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob, but nothing worked.

Also read: Singapore death penalty: Family of Tamil man Tangaraju Suppiah pleads for mercy, retrial

This tweet by the British billionaire Richard Branson shows sister Leelavathy Suppiah and other family and friends with the mercy petition for Tangaraju Suppiah.

Perhaps no other execution anywhere in the world in recent times has made this much news. That is because even though Singapore often executes people convicted in narcotics cases, Tangaraju Suppiah, a Singaporean of Tamil ethnicity, never touched the narcotics that he was accused of trafficking.

Also read: Singapore death penalty: Tamil man to be executed on April 26 over marijuana trafficking

The exact charge against him was of abetment in a conspiracy to traffic narcotics — the drugs in question were 1kg of marijuana (cannabis), which is banned in Singapore, even though legal in some countries. The amount of narcotics was a determining factor in the death sentence.

Tangaraju’s sister Leelavathy Suppiah, who had been served the notice of her brother’s execution a few days ago, had done everything in her limited power to save him.

The family members and their supporters tried to repeatedly highlight that Tangaraju, who had been in prison for nine years before his execution was scheduled, had done nothing wrong; that he did not have a strong grasp of English; and that he was not given a Tamil-English interpreter when his statement was first recorded by law enforcement.

Also read: Singapore death penalty: Rehearsal of execution today for Tangaraju Suppiah

Singapore-based activist Kokila Annamalai, who had been tweeting every detail of the family’s efforts and their state of mind, posted yesterday that a last-minute review application filed by Tangaraju, presenting “an argument that he had not advanced before”, was “summarily dismissed” by the court.

As per Kokila’s tweets, the day before his death, Tangaraju had a visit from his mother, whom he had not seen in three years.

The elderly mother lives in a care centre with medical staff, and she had not been told that this would be her last visit with her son. She was delighted to see Tangaraju after so long, and returned from the prison visit in a happy state of mind, unaware of what would come the next day.