Article by Ariffin Sha, The Online Citizen
Chijoke Stephan Obioha, a Nigerian graduate who first came to Singapore for a football trial, is set to be hung at dawn tomorrow after the Court of Appeal dismissed an Urgent Criminal Motion filed by his lawyer, Mr Joseph Chen. Chijoke was first arrested in 2007 and sentenced to the Mandatory Death Penalty in 2008 after being found guilty of trafficking more than 2kg of Cannabis
His execution tomorrow will bring and end to what the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign member Mr Ravi calls ‘possibly the longest delay between sentencing and execution.’ Chijoke has spent almost 8 years on death row and more than 9 years behind bars. The contention that arose from the urgent criminal motion that the Court of Appeal heard at 5pm earlier today was whether the ‘unprecedented mental anguish’ Chijoke experienced contravened Article 9(1) of the Constitution in so far as it amounted to cruel and inhumane treatment.
Mr Ravi who also recently wrote a piece which argued that the ‘unprecedented mental anguish’ that Chijoke experienced in his 8 years on death row amounted to a ‘violation of human rights’ in itself. He stated that, to his knowledge, the delay in Chijoke’s execution is ‘possibly the longest in Singapore’s history.’ In addition to International Human Rights instruments, he also cites the Privy Council Case of Pratt and Morgan v Attorney-General for Jamaica, where it was held that ‘the delay of 5 years and 6 months which had elapsed since an accused’s conviction amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and breached his constitutional right not to be deprived of life.’
Mr Ravi, who is assisting Mr Joseph with the research for the case, shared that Singapore’s Apex Court had dismissed the motion in a Facebook post. The post was published at 7pm, about 2 hours after the Court begun to hear the case. The Judges dismissed the appeal, ruling that the issues had already been settled in the case of Yong Vui Kong, Mr Ravi’s client.
“The court of appeal has dismissed Chijioke’s constitutional challenge on the ground that Article 9(1) of Singapore’s constitution does not prohibit cruel and inhuman punishment and degrading treatment as previously held in the case of Yong Vui Kong in 2010. The court was not prepared to review its previous decision despite changes to the mandatory death penalty regime in 2012 and failed to consider the evolving standards of customary international law that prohibit cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment. We have to live with another judgement that says that the Singapore constitution allows cruel and inhumane punishment and degrading treatment.”