Nigerian man, Chijoke Stephen Obioha, who came to Singapore for a football trial, is set to be hung early tomorrow morning after the Court of Appeal dismissed an Urgent Criminal Motion filed by his lawyer, Mr Joseph Chen, today, November 17th.
Chijioke has been taken to the prison and it's believed no one from his family is there to visit him or arrange his funeral.
Chijoke was first arrested in 2007 and sentenced to the Mandatory Death Penalty in 2008 after being found guilty of trafficking more than 2kg of Cannabis. His execution tomorrow will bring and end to possibly the longest delay between sentencing and execution. Chijoke has spent almost 8 years on death row and more than 9 years behind bars.
The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign member, Mr Ravi, who is assisting Mr Joseph with the research for the case, shared that Singapore's Apex Court had dismissed the motion in a Facebook post. The post was published 7 hours ago, after the Court begun to hear the case.
"The court of appeal has dismissed Chijioke's constitutional challenge on the ground that Article 9(1) of Singapore's constitution does not prohibit cruel and inhuman punishment and degrading treatment as previously held in the case of Yong Vui Kong in 2010," Mr Ravi wrote.
"The court was not prepared to review its previous decision despite changes to the mandatory death penalty regime in 2012 and failed to consider the evolving standards of customary international law that prohibit cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment. We have to live with another judgement that says that the Singapore constitution allows cruel and inhumane punishment and degrading treatment. What was most disturbing was despite the court having put on notice that Chijioke's counsel was only instructed yesterday , the court repeatedly kept asking why this application was made at the 11th hour. Chijioke is now being led to the prison to be executed in less then 11 hours . I understand that no one from his family is here to visit him or arrange his funeral. Another case of the death penalty being disproportionately imposed on the poor and the disadvantaged." Mr Ravi added.
His imminent execution drew condemnation from International Organizations and local civil society groups. As this article went to press, the United Nations, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Amnesty International, the European Union, and the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.
Chijoke had consistently maintained his innocence - to the point that he initially turned down a chance for re-sentencing for fear that it may be perceived as an admission of guilt. Some have also raised the issue of Chijoke being executed for Marijuana - a substance that is being legalised, for both medicinal and recreational purposes, in many cities and countries around the world.
"Chijioke has endured more than 9 punishing years in prison. He has been detained not for the purposes of treatment nor rehabilitation but for the purposes of awaiting execution," Mr Ravi wrote in a earlier Facebook post. "He has faced unprecedented mental anguish. Changes to the law in 2012 gave him a glimmer of hope but this was again snatched away from him. To our knowledge, Chijioke’s case is possibly the longest delay of an execution in Singapore’s history till today."