A Singapore court sentenced a man to death in a trial conducted through the Zoom video conferencing app to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, something strongly criticized by human rights defenders.
The convicted man, the 37-year-old Malaysian drug trafficker Punithan Ganesan, was convicted of having sold at least 28.5 grams of heroin, a crime punishable by the death penalty in accordance with the country’s strict anti-drug legislation.
This is the first time that capital punishment is applied in the framework of a distance hearing, the Supreme Court stressed.
Zoom became popular around the world because of the quarantines decreed to stop the pandemic, but according to the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), this technology is totally inappropriate to pronounce such a sentence.
“The death penalty is essentially cruel and inhumane, and it gets even worse when Singapore uses technology like Zoom to sentence a man to death,” said the organization’s deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson.
Singapore recorded more than 29,000 COVID-19 infections but only found 22 deaths.