By Alexander Wilson-
A man has been sentenced to death after being convicted of importing one kilogram of cannabis into Singapore.
Omar Yacob Bamadhaj, 41, lost his appeal against the sentence, which was handed down in February, after the country’s Court of Appeal said it was satisfied with the judge’s handling of the trial.
Bamadhaj was arrested at a checkpoint on the Singapore-Malaysia border in July 2018 after police officers discovered three packages of the drug in the boot of the car he was in.
He was convicted of bringing at least 2 pounds of cannabis into Singapore in 2018. Authorities found it wrapped in foil and newspaper in the trunk of the car he was in while his dad was driving, the report said.
His lawyers questioned whether he knowingly brought the drug into the city-state. Bamadhaj argued in court that he didn’t know what was in the trunk and that other people had put it there without him knowing, according to Channel News Asia.
His father, who was behind the wheel of the car, was reportedly unaware that he was carrying over 1kg of cannabis.
Prosecutors said that Bamadhaj had pre-ordered and collected the drugs in Malaysia before attempting to smuggle them into Singapore.
Bamadhaj in his defence that he was not aware of what was in the packages and that they had been put in his bag by acquaintances without his knowledge.
Those claims contradicted earlier statements given to police, in which he had said that he knew the bundles contained cannabis and had agreed to smuggle them into Singapore because he was ‘desperate for money,’ per Channel News Asia.
When interrogated about the difference in accounts, Bamadhaj had told officers ‘I said that because I was not at the right state of mind. I was feeling high from the stick I had smoked… High to me is like being semi-conscious.’
Bamadhaj also claimed that he had been coerced into making a confession by officers with the Central Narcotics Bureau, claiming they threatened to hang both him and his father if he did not admit to importing the drugs.
Cannabis consumption is strictly prohibited in Singapore, which is known for enforcing strict punishment for drug use, including lengthy prison sentences and caning. The country’s continued use of capital punishment has been widely criticized by human rights activists.