Pending Hanging of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore


Press Message on the Pending Hanging of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore

It is with great sadness that we compose this press message regarding the death sentence on Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, to be hanged at dawn on 26th January after a lengthy, lonely and soul-destroying imprisonment.

Tochi was arrested for allegedly carrying heroin into Changi airport in November 2004. He was 19 years old when he was arrested.

The court in Singapore delivered the death sentence after a 13-day trial.

Tochi has been waiting in maximum security section of Changi prison from 2004 until today. His family in Nigeria believed until July last year that he was playing football for a Singapore football team.

Tochi was indeed a champion footballer who played in Nigerian state league championships. He claims he was tricked into trafficking drugs to Singapore on the promise of being able to play for a club here.

It is particularly disturbing to note that trial judge himself raised reasonable doubts in Tochi’s case, mentioning that it was entirely possible that Tochi did not know he was bringing in drugs to Singapore–before proceeding to convict him and pass the mandatory death penalty. *

At a time when the Singapore prison system has a renewed emphasis upon rehabilitation, and when the Yellow Ribbon campaign asks us to give even seasoned criminals a second chance, can we not find it in our hearts to extend this to a person who–if he indeed is guilty–made a desperate mistake at the age of 19?

The death sentence for drug trafficking in Singapore continues to be “mandatory”, which means that judges are not able to take into significance and mitigating circumstances (such as the age and general naivity of the accused) when passing their verdict.

And at a time when even the hangings of persons responsible for mass killings and genocide, such as Saddam Hussein and his cronies are being regarded with disgust by the world at large; are seen as reproducing the criminal cruelty of the original perpetrators, is it not time that we in Singapore reconsider our stance on the repeated, mandatory hanging of small-fry drug mules?

Signed,

Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign

* Tochi was arrested in Changi Airport in November 2004. He claims he was carrying herbal medicine for a third party, at the behest of his “friend”, Mr Smith. According to Tochi, Mr Smith befriended him months earlier and advised him to approach football clubs in Singapore.

Against Tochi, the trial judge, Mr Kan Ting Chiu, made the following finding at paragraph 42 of his judgment [2005] SGHC 233: “There was no direct evidence that he knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith had told him they contained diamorphine, or that he had found that out of his own.”

The Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) comprises a concerned group of Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds who have come together over the issue of the Death Penalty. Through a series of debates and events we hope to foster a public debate on the practice of capital punishment in Singapore and throughout the world.

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About soci
Lived in Singapore for 6 wonderful years and has been blogging since 2003, under various names but always on Singaporean issues.

15 Responses to Pending Hanging of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore

  1. OGOCHUKWU says:

    i plead that the singapore Government should tamper justice with mercy and let the innocent boy free

    Thnks

  2. OGOCHUKWU says:

    i plead that the singapore Government should tamper justice with mercy and let the innocent boy free

    Thanks

  3. Danniie says:

    is is not good. u should not have killed him. u have wastes this guys talanet.

  4. anthony says:

    Not that l really in support of death penalty, but, we nigerians in diaspora are unbearable, and the fact is that the white people always put us all in the same pot,and the only way to put an end to drug trafficking is to have a severe penalty. if you are not being there, you will find it difficult to understand what l mean. Nigerians are looking for the fastest way of making money, and through that they indulge the image of our country. look at the case of Hassanat Taiwo Akinwande better known as Wummi, yesterday, after a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos sentenced her to three years imprisonment with an option of N1 million fine. l think 1.million naira is nothing to 3years imprisonment, that is not good verdict, she should go and pay 4 or 5million. if only death penalty is the only way to put an end to drug trafficking please let it be.

  5. Anonymous says:

    May God punish those who punish innocent souls. May they never have peace!

  6. OLAH says:

    it is quite unfotunate that most times we have to learn when it becomes very late. the case of Toch indeed is though very sympathetic but i really want to appreciate the singaporean authority. they could not bend the law not minding the person that is involved.

    This is a lesson for every Nigerians that think that until you cross the shores of this country you cannot make it.

    Let’s make our country great together. I BELIEVE IN NIGERIA

  7. OLAH says:

    THOSE OF YOU OUT THERE CARRYING DRUGS, YOU SHALL BE CAUGHT AND GANG IF CARE IS NOT TAKEN. LET’S MAKE THIS COUNTRY GREAT AND STOP SPOILING THE IMAGE OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY.

  8. biyi says:

    They shouldn’t have killed him.No one is above mistakes.They would realize the implications of their actions when their own children get involved in such things.Capital punishment should be erased completely

  9. biyi says:

    That’s too bad of them.They shouldn’t have killed him.They would realize their actions when their own children become involved in such types of things and we have already seen an example.God hates dishonest scale and he repays every man for his actions.Capital punishment should be erased completely.I’m sure God himself doesn’t love this.

  10. Jeffrey says:

    You simiply know that if you are caught you will be punished then while still do it?It is greed and the quest for quick wealth.Touch wanted to make money over night but couldnt make it bcos he that sinneth must die.Let the law prevails.

  11. leo says:

    You all are accussing the dead, have you heard the true side of his story? Don’t be judgemental in cases with crime. Situations make people do horrible things they never imagined a night before. I live in Canada and see how Nigerians go into illicit crimes for money to send home. If only you stand face to face with Tochi and ask how he came about the drugs. He was tested and they found no drug in his blood, which rules out he uses any. Three days before I left Nigeria for Canada, I was approached by some guy and an aquaintance who begged me to travel with some drugs and cash, they promised me alot of money, but you see, I never was ready for quick money, i believe in struggle. I refused, then some stranger called me the day I was leaving and said he wanted me to give his brother some money. He never told me they were fake, but I was smart enough to have checked them properly to know. So please, don’t judge the dead. It was a drastic mistake. May his soul rest in perfect peace, amen.

  12. Rumplestiltskin says:

    The more Afros Singapore hangs the better!

  13. soci says:

    Hi Rumplestiltskin

    you would be from Texas in the good old U S of A. Wouldn’t you?

    All comments are accompanied with IP addresses so your sense of anonymity is wrong, very wrong.

  14. Anonymous says:

    his the guy dead now

  15. Tochi says:

    just imaging if he had gotten thru..thank you for saving our children if this is the only way to keep our children save so be it…….no body to blame but yourself………

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