Two drug traffickers hanged after appeals fail

Convicted drug trafficker Chijioke Stephen Obioha - one of the longest-serving death row inmates here - was executed yesterday morning after a final court bid to reopen his appeal some 13 hours earlier failed. Chijioke, 38, a Nigerian national, was hanged together with convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Devendran Supramaniam, 31, at Changi Prison Complex.

Both men had been "accorded full due process under the law", said the Central Narcotics Bureau.

Chijioke had been found guilty and sentenced to death on Dec 30, 2008 for trafficking 2,604.56g of cannabis here. The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of cannabis trafficked is 500g or more.

After his appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2010, he chose to be considered for re-sentencing in May 2015, under the new death penalty regime that came into effect at the start of 2013. He subsequently withdrew his re-sentencing application in August this year.

The apex court subsequently lifted the stay of execution in October after he failed to put in any application to explain why it should not do so. On Wednesday, lawyer Joseph Chen filed a criminal motion in court to stay the execution and to commute his sentence to life imprisonment.

The apex court comprising Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and Tay Yong Kwang and Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng heard and dismissed the case on Thursday.

Chijioke's two petitions to the President for clemency, filed by him through his counsel and by the High Commission of Nigeria, were turned down.

He had been represented by six lawyers through legal assistance in the various earlier hearings.

Malaysian trafficker Devendran was nabbed at Woodlands Checkpoint in May 2011 carrying six packets containing 83.36g of heroin and was convicted and sentenced to death on July 29, 2014.

He failed in his appeal before the the Court of Appeal last year and his bid for a stay of execution and to reopen his appeal was dismissed on Thursday.

His petition to the President for clemency was also turned down.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'Two drug traffickers hanged after appeals fail'. Print Edition | Subscribe