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Singapore Executes First Woman in 19 Years over Drug Trafficking Charges

Singapore executed a woman for the first time in almost two decades on Friday over charges of drug trafficking. Saridewi Binte Djamani was hanged in Changi Prison, amidst strong objections from human rights organisations.

“Saridewi, a 45-year-old Singaporean, was convicted of having in her possession for the purpose of trafficking, not less than 30.72 grammes of diamorphine, or pure heroin,” said the Central Narcotics Bureau. The quantity trafficked by Saridewi easily exceeded the threshold of 15 grammes which warrants the imposition of the death penalty as per the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Saridewi. who was sentenced to capital punishment in 2018, “was accorded full due process under the law, and was represented by legal counsel throughout the process,” the bureau elaborated in the same statement.

Saridewi is the first woman to be hanged in Singapore since 2004, when Yen May Woen, a 36-year-old hairdresser was awarded the death penalty after being convicted of drug trafficking. She is the second person to be executed this week in the city-state, following the execution of 57-year-old Mohd Aziz bin Hussain on Wednesday. Aziz was sentenced to death in 2017 after he was found guilty of trafficking 49.98 grammes of heroin.

Human rights organisations – such as the International Federation for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and the Singapore-based Transformative Justice Collective – strongly voiced their opposition and had even appealed to the Singaporean government to halt the executions. The United Nations human rights office also condemned the executions and urged for the abolition of the death penalty. “We deplore the multiple executions carried out this week in Kuwait and Singapore and oppose the death penalty under all circumstances,” said OHCHR Spokesperson Seif Magango. Five men were executed in Kuwait on Thursday, out of which one was convicted of drug dealing.


Singapore has hanged 15 people since resuming executions for drug convictions in March 2022, after the country was forced to take a two-year hiatus owing to the pandemic. The island country is known for practicing some of the most stringent drug laws in the world, with the government asserting that capital punishment is an effective way of preventing drug-related offences and safeguarding society.

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