Drug trafficker on death row is re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes

A 29-year-old man on Monday became the second convicted drug offender on death row to be spared a date with the hangman.

Subashkaran Pragasam was instead given life in prison and 15 strokes of the cane in the High Court. This follows the case of Malaysian drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, 30, who was re-sentenced to the same punishment last November.

The reprieve for Subashkaran follows recently amended drug laws which give judges the discretion to impose life terms and caning on drug traffickers, instead of the mandatory death penalty. These apply to drug couriers who help the authorities in a substantive way, and and those whose mental illness makes them less responsible for their actions.

Subashkaran had already been certified by the Public Prosecutor to have substantively assisted in disrupting drug-trafficking activities. Justice Choo Han Teck found that that he had only been acting as a courier when caught with nine packets containing 186.62g of heroin and commuted the man's punishment accordingly.

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