SINGAPORE: Indian national facing execution in Singapore 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-24-2003
ISSUES: Death penalty,


In December 2001, Arunprakash Vaithilingam, a migrant worker from Tamil Nadu in India, stabbed his roommate, also an Indian national, to death with a knife during a drunken argument. He was arrested and charged with murder. He is facing execution after he was convicted of death in February 2003.

At his trial, Arunprakash Vaithilingam stated that he didn’t intend to kill his roommate and he didn’t even realize he had stabbed him. He and his several friends who had witnessed the argument testified that they rushed the wounded man to hospital immediately but he died shortly afterwards. Despite eyewitness evidence, the Singapore High Court found Arunprakash Vaithilingam guilty of murder, an offence which carries a mandatory death sentence.

Arunprakash Vaithilingam’s relatives have petitioned the president of Singapore for granting clemency. According to the Amnesty International, the president of Singapore will review the petition for clemency by the beginning of August. The Indian newspaper said that the Indian government has also intervened on his behalf, requesting the Singapore authorities to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.


Singapore is believed to have one of the highest per capita rates of executions in the world. Government figures show that out of 340 people executed between 1991 and 2000, 89 were executed for murder. Between 1996 and 2000, over half those executed for murder were foreign nationals. Families of convicts are only informed of the impending execution before one week. There is virtually no public debate about the use of the death penalty in the country.

Human rights organizations and Amnesty International oppose the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Also, studies showed that it was more likely to be imposed on those who are poorer, less educated and more vulnerable than average. It needs to combat violent crime however, there is no persuasive evidence that that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments.


Write letters before 01 August to the Singapore authorities expressing your concern about Arunprakash Vaithilngam who is facing the execution and urge the authorities to stop implementing the death penalty that violates the people’s rights to life. Sample letter and contact details for your action are provided below.


His Excellency S R Nathan
The President
Office of the President
Istana Annexe
Singapore 238823
Fax: + 65 6738 4673


Your Excellency

Re: SINGAPORE: Indian national facing execution in Singapore

Mr. President, I urge you to act decisively to commute death sentence passed on Indian national Arunprakash Vaithilngam to life imprisonment.

The death penalty is a violation of the right to life, one of the most fundamental human rights. I understand that it needs to combat violent crime. However, the death penalty has never been shown to have a unique deterrent effect and is brutalizing to all involved. If the execution is carried out, it will only cause more suffering for the relatives of Arunprakash Vaithilingam.

Yours sincerely



1. His Excellency S R Nathan
The President
Office of the President
Istana Annexe
Singapore 238823
Fax: + 65 6738 4673

2. Prof. S . Jayakumar
Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
The Treasury #08-02
Singapore 179434
Fax: + 65 6332 8842


If you want to know more about Death Penalty in Singapore, please visit;

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-24-2003
Countries :
Issues : Death penalty,