Man handed death sentence via zoom

A 37-year-old Malaysian has been handed a death sentence in Singapore via Zoom video call.

Punithan Genasan, became the first person in Singapore to have received a capital punishment sentence via zoom, after being convicted for his role in a 2011 drug deal, UK’s Sky News reported.

Court documents show Mr Genasan was slapped with the death sentence on Friday.

A spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Court said, “For the safety of all involved in the proceedings, the hearing for Public Prosecutor versus Punithan Genasan was conducted by video-conferencing.”

Genasan’s lawyer, Peter Fernando, said his client received the judge’s verdict on a zoom call and that he was considering an appeal.

Meanwhile, human rights groups have criticised the use of zoom in death penalty cases, although Mr Fernando said he did not object to the use of video-conferencing.

Singapore has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs and the Human Rights Watch’s Asia division rights group argued that it has hanged hundreds of people.

A deputy director of the group, Phil Robertson said, “Singapore’s use of the death penalty is inherently cruel and inhumane, and the use of remote technology like zoom to sentence a man to death makes it even more so.”

The group also criticised a case in Nigeria where a death sentence was delivered via zoom.

Singapore is currently under lockdown in an effort to curb one of the highest coronavirus rates in Asia.

While cases deemed essential have been held remotely, many court hearings in Singapore have been adjourned during a lockdown period that started in early April and is due to run until June 1.

As of May 20, 2020, Singapore’s current coronavirus cases stand at 29, 364 with 10, 365 recovering from the deadly virus. The death toll stands at 22.

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