Malaysian hanged in Singapore despite protest

SINGAPORE: Singapore executed a convicted Malaysian heroin trafficker yesterday despite protests by human rights group Amnesty International and after the High Court dismissed his third appeal for a retrial. 

Authorities hanged Vignes Mourthi, 23, at dawn after President S.R. Nathan rejected his clemency petition, the 11th execution in Singapore this year. 

Amnesty had urged a retrial and said the former machine operator had not received a fair hearing because his conviction appeared based on a hand-written transcript of a conversation he had with an undercover officer. 

Vignes had denied the conversation took place. 

Singapore has one of the highest per capita execution rates in the world despite relatively low crime in its resident population of just over four million. 

In an interview with British Broadcasting Corp this week, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said up to 80 people had been executed in first nine months of this year but stressed the figure needed to be checked. 

Vignes' lawyer, M. Ravi, had threatened to take the case to the United Nations and had written to Singapore's president asking that constitutional court be convened to look into the legality of the death sentence. – Reuters  

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