Father of two sentenced to death in Singapore for importing 1 kilogram of cannabis | InstaLeaf.ca

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The Case of Omar Bamadahaj

According to Channel News Asia, Bamadhaj is a 41 year old father of two who has been incarcerated for over a year while awaiting the conclusion of his punishment. Before he can be put to death, Bamadhaj may appeal his case in the Supreme Court — a process that might take up to six months.

Bamadahaj was caught importing 1 kilogram of cannabis into Singapore from Malaysia in 2018, which under the Misuse of Drugs Act is punishable by death.

Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act punishes anyone found importing over 15 grams of cannabis with a mandatory death penalty, and those found guilty of trafficking (defined as importing, producing or supplying) face a mandatory sentence of five to 20 years in prison.

Different offences under the Act are punishable by different degrees of punishment; anyone found possessing more than 500 grams of cannabis is liable to be imprisoned for up to 10 years plus fined (with no minimum amount).

According to the prosecution, Omar pre-ordered the cannabis and collected it a day later near a mosque in Malaysia. According to Omar's defense at trial, he did not realize what was in the packages when he retrieved them, and acquaintances put the bundles in his bag without his consent or knowledge.

Omar, desperate for money, says he was offered S$500 (~$450C) per package to transport and he later denied knowledge of what he was carrying, claiming that an initial confession had been coerced from the Central Narcotics Bureau officers.

Opinion Piece

Regardless of where you stand on the ethics behind legality of cannabis, to me this shows a complete lack of value towards the human life. The very idea that someone could be sentenced to death over an amount of drugs that physically cannot cause someone to overdose seems draconian at best. We live in a modern society where many popular over the counter prescription medications pose more of a health risk than the cannabis that Omar Bamadahaj was sentenced to death for.

It is a fact that strict drug enforcement policies have had disastrous consequences for countries where they have been implemented. Countries with the harshest punishments for drugs typically have the highest rates of drug use, and countries without harsh laws have lower rates of drug abuse as people who choose to consume have the option to do so responsibly as opposed to engaging in riskier behavior. Do you think that the particularly harsh drug enforcement policies have led to the eradication of drug use in Singapore or has it instead resulted in a seedier underground community in which desperate fathers get caught up as the middle men so authorities can pad their egos.

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