Singapore Sentences Man to Death via Zoom Call for Drug Dealing

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Flickr/Marco Verch

A man in Singapore has been sentenced to death via a Zoom call, as the country remains on lockdown because of the coronavirus.

The judge sentenced Punithan Genasan, 37, on Friday for his role in spearheading a 2011 drug deal that involved a heroin transaction.

Its the second known case where a death sentence was delivered remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For the safety of all involved in the proceedings, the hearing for Public Prosecutor v. Punithan A/L Genasan was conducted by video-conferencing,” a spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Court told Reuters.

The vast majority of court hearings in Singapore, however, have been postponed until at least June 1 because of government shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

Genasan’s lawyer, Peter Fernando, said his client is thinking about appealing the ruling.

Singapore has a strict policy on the use of illicit drugs and uses capital punishment to deal with drug-related offenses. In 2013, 18 people were executed — the highest amount in two decades, according to Amnesty International.

Of those executed, 11 were charged with drug-related offenses, BBC News reported.

Singapore imposed a partial lockdown in early April after a second wave of coronavirus cases caused by foreign workers living in crowded conditions. The government plans to reopen beginning next month gradually.

The city-state recorded 29,812 confirmed cases of the virus, with 24 deaths as of Thursday.

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