Germany’s letter to Singapore on Tochi execution

Below is the letter that Germany’s Ministry of foreign affairs had released to Singapore prior to Tochi’s execution.

The European Union is deeply concerned by reports that the execution of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, a Nigerian citizen sentenced to death by a Singapore court in November 2005, will take place on 26 January 2006.

Mr. Tochi had been sentenced on the basis of mandatory penalty for certain crimes and a provision in the Singapore criminal law to the effect that the defendant has to prove his innocence rather than the court having to prove his guilt.

Singapore is widely seen as a model country for its well performing economy and its social achievements. Singapore is also an important partner for the European Union.

Yet, the European Union considers the death penalty cruel and inhuman. It does not provide any added value in terms of deterrence, and any miscarriage of justice, which is inevitable in any legal system, would be irreversible. The death penalty had therefore been completely abolished in all European Union countries.

The European Union considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights. An abolition of the death penalty or – as a first step – a moratorium in Singapore would strengthen the ties with the European Union.

The European Union urges the Republic of Singapore to introduce a moratorium for death penalties, in particular if the guilt of the defendant could not be proven, and encourages the Government of Singapore to open a debate on the abolition of the mandatory death penalty.

Mit freundlichen Grüssen,

Hans Löffler
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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