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Last Chance for Life: Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases$
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Daniel Pascoe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809715

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809715.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

Republic of Singapore

Republic of Singapore

(p.95) 4 Republic of Singapore
Last Chance for Life: Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases

Daniel Pascoe

Oxford University Press

Against the jurisdiction with the highest rate of capital clemency from 1991 to 2016 (Thailand), Chapter 4 juxtaposes the jurisdiction with the lowest (Singapore). Here, a mere 0.6 per cent of prisoners who exhausted their judicial appeals received death row commutations between 1991 and 2016. In Singapore’s case, again the chapter opens with a summary of relevant death penalty laws and practice, and a summary of the six cases where a capital prisoner has been granted clemency since Singaporean independence in 1965. The five theoretically informed hypotheses set out to explain the Singapore Cabinet’s overwhelming reluctance to grant capital clemency over many decades are as follows: Singapore’s rule of law ‘brand name’; the government’s public justifications for retaining the mandatory death penalty; strong deterrence in drug-trafficking cases; prosecutorial discretion supplanting executive discretion, and particular aspects of the Cabinet’s decision-making processes.

Keywords:   clemency, executions, Singapore, Peoples Action Party, Lee Kwan Yew, drug trafficking, commutation, rule of law, prosecutorial discretion, mandatory death penalty, Cabinet, deterrence

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