Singapore — Singapore has lifted the death penalty for Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian convicted of drug trafficking, and commuted his sentence to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.
In 2009, Yong was sentenced to hang for smuggling 47 grams of heroin into Singapore in 2007 when he was 19.
Trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin brought an automatic death sentence.
But reforms under the law went into effect this year that allowed judges discretion in certain cases.
If those convicted aid police and acted merely as drug couriers, they can have their sentences commuted.
“This is the happiest day of my client’s life. He feels intense gratitude towards all those who have worked so hard to save him from being executed,” said Yong’s lawyer M Ravi, according to an Agence-France Presse report.
“This is a landmark ruling, and possibly the first time in history that someone sentenced to death under Singapore’s draconian drugs laws has had their sentence commuted,” said a statement by Roseann Rife, East Asia research director at Amnesty International, according to reports.