This Government is shameless

Case 1
Offender: Shanmugam Murugesu
Offence: Smuggling marijuana
Penalty: Death
Nationality: Singaporean

Case 2
Offender: Julia Bohl
Offence: Smuggling marijuana
Penalty: 3-years jail
Nationality: German

No, your eyes have not deceived you. This is the kind of Government that we have – the kind that makes you sick to the very pit of your stomach. Barely weeks after the execution of Shanmugam Murugesu, we get news that German national Julian Bohl has been released after 3 years of jail (to be released on 15 July 2005).

And how did the Government arrive at the type of sentence? According to the report below it was a result of “months of legal and diplomatic maneuvering” that “helped Bohl avoid capital punishment.” What diplomatic maneuvering? Doesn’t our Constitution tell a Singapore citizen like Shanmugam that he was guaranteed “equal protection under the law”?

Will the PAP Government tell Singaporeans if the report that there had been “diplomatic manuevering” has any basis?

The Government is telling us Singaporeans: “Yes, so we released Julian Bohl and killed Shanmugam. So what? We don’t have to explain to you why we did it. Not happy? Okay, so what are you going to do about?”

Enough already, our dear fellow Singaporeans, enough already. Why do you remain on bended knees in the face of such injustice?

The Singapore Democrats wish Ms Bohl the very best with her new lease on life. Meanwhile, we wish Mr Shanmugam…

Singapore releases German
F.A.Z. Weekly
3 June 2005

In the summer of 2002, Julia Bohl became a household name in Germany after the 22-year-old student faced the death penalty in Singapore for the possession and trafficking of drugs. Months of legal and diplomatic maneuvering helped Bohl avoid capital punishment, and instead she was sentenced to 5 years in jail.

Three years into her sentence, however, the Justice Ministry in the southeast Asian country announced on Friday that Bohl would be released two years early from the women’s prison in Changi. The ministry did not say why she would be set free on July 15, but her lawyer said it was because of good behavior.

Bohl’s case made headlines around the world in March 2002 when police seized 687 grams (24.2 ounces) of marijuana and other drugs in her apartment. Authorities also accused her of allowing three roommates to use her apartment for narcotics trafficking.

In Singapore, which is known for its extremely strict drug laws, capital punishment is mandatory when the defendant possesses more than 500 grams of marijuana. But later tests showed that the drugs seized in the case were less pure than previously thought and for legal purposes amounted to only 287 grams. This finding helped Bohl avoid the death penalty.

During the court proceedings in 2002, Bohl sought leniency from the court and apologized in a written statement before her conviction: I deeply regret what I’ve done, especially as I’m a guest in this country. She spent most of her teenage years with her parents in Singapore and was completing an internship at Daimler Chrysler at the time of her arrest.

While serving her sentence, Bohl was regularly visited by her lawyer, embassy representatives and family members. She began a business degree at the distance-learning university in Hagen while in jail and plans on continuing her studies upon her return to Germany. The now 25-year-old is expected to immediately leave Singapore after her release.

Various media sources said a number of German publishers were interested in buying the rights to her story for a book. But representatives of the embassy said such a deal would not go over well in Singapore and could complicate the situation for future foreign nationals facing charges in the country. Singapore has executed some 100 people since 1975 for drug offenses. Only one was a westerner, a Dutchman hanged in 1994 after he was caught with 4.5 kilograms of heroin.

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