Singapore Hangs First Woman On Drug Charges In Two Decades

Singapore executed Saridewi Djamani for drug trafficking, the first woman to be hanged in two decades. Capital punishment reignites debate over strict anti-drug policies and calls for criminal justice reforms for deterrence and human rights.

Harnur Watta
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Image credits: WUWM

Image credits: WUWM

In a controversial move, Singapore carried out its first execution of a woman in over 20 years. The execution was on the path despite an appeal for clemency and an international plea for a moratorium on capital punishment. 

The woman, identified as Saridewi Djamani, was found guilty of drug trafficking and is set to be executed by hanging, rekindling the debate surrounding Singapore's harsh stance on drug-related crimes.

The case of Saridewi Djamani has drawn widespread attention and criticism from human rights organisations worldwide. According to reports, she was arrested after attempting to smuggle 30 grams of heroin into the country.

Despite efforts to commute her sentence, including a plea for clemency filed by her lawyers, Singaporean authorities are determined to proceed with the execution, signalling a resolute adherence to their strict anti-drug laws.

Singapore: First Execution Of Woman In Two Decades 

Singapore's "Misuse of Drugs Act" approach to drug offences is known for its zero-tolerance policy, which has resulted in capital punishment for those found guilty of trafficking large amounts of illicit substances. While some argue that such strict measures act as a deterrent to drug-related crimes, others express concern over the lack of clemency in cases like Djamani's.

However, this development has reignited the global debate over the use of capital punishment, particularly in cases related to drug offences. Human rights organisations have long criticised Singapore's approach, arguing that the death penalty does not effectively deter drug trafficking and that it violates fundamental human rights.


Amnesty International and other rights groups have consistently called for a moratorium on capital punishment, urging the Singaporean government to review its stance on executions.

Singapore's last execution of a woman occurred 2 decades ago, making Djamani's case particularly significant. As the international community closely watches Singapore's actions, the nation stands firm in upholding its laws and policies, even in the face of criticism.

The case of Saridewi Djamani highlights the complexities surrounding the use of the death penalty for drug offences. While Singapore remains resolute in its efforts to combat drug trafficking, questions persist about the efficacy and ethics of capital punishment as a means of deterrence.

Advocates for criminal justice reform continue to call for a reevaluation of the country's stance on the death penalty, urging authorities to explore alternative measures that prioritise rehabilitation and social support.

Singapore's position on capital punishment remains a contentious issue on the global stage, with advocates and critics grappling over the ethics and effectiveness of such severe measures. The debate continues as authorities in the country stand firm on their commitment to combating drug trafficking, even in the face of international pressure to reconsider their stance on the death penalty.

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Singapore human rights capital punishment Drug Trafficking