Dear President Tony Tan,
We first congratulate your election as our republic’s seventh president. We are heartened by your pledge to reach out to all Singaporeans and to represent the aspirations and hopes of the citizens in our country.
We are writing to you to request your intervention in the clemency petition of Roslan bin Bakar. While we understand that your office does not have the prerogative to grant clemency, we would implore you to closely consider the facts of the case before putting your signature to the death warrant. We believe that the case raises certain questions that should be borne with close scrutiny.
Roslan had been found guilty of trafficking in in 96.07 grams of diamorphine and 76.37 grams of methamphetamine. He has however insisted upon his innocence, and denied that he was even present at the scene.
He was convicted on the testimony of three men who were at the scene, two of whom had had their capital charge reduced or withdrawn. (A fourth person at the scene had testified that Roslan was not present.) The three men had also implicated Roslan by claiming that his mobile number had been used to arrange the transaction. However, there was no evidence that the number ever belonged to Roslan. This fact was acknowledged by the prosecution who revealed in court that the number was registered to a foreigner who had since left Singapore.
Furthermore, although officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau tailed the vehicles during the drug transaction, none gave evidence in court to indicate Roslan’s presence at the scene.
Moreover, Roslan was only arrested more than a month after the alleged transaction – and he was not found with any drugs at the time of his arrest.
However, the trial judge rejected Roslan’s alibi, while rebuffing the suggestion that the others were trying to frame him in return for escaping a capital charge.
The clemency petition that Roslam submitted to your predecessor reasserted his innocence.
He asserted that the drugs did not belong to him, but one “Yusof bin Kassim” who had conspired with the rest while in remand to ensure “that Yusof bin Kassim would be exonerated and the capital charge against the others would be withdrawn or reduced”.
We do appreciate that the esteemed judges in the trial and appellate courts have pored over the case with careful deliberation. To the learned eye, the procedural integrity of this decision is never in doubt. To the humane eye however, there are doubts that persist – doubts that will trouble our hearts as we compel a man to confront his mortality.
The decision to deprive a man of his life is significant, and it is unconscionable to go forth with an execution while uncertainty lingers. As we seek to bear upon a man the heaviest condemnation that our society can muster, we must also bear that onerous duty of ensuring his guilt is irrefutable and indisputable. The slightest hint of innocence should halt his march to the noose – lest the truth becomes mere cold comfort for his family when we realise that an irrevocable mistake has been committed.
Sir, these are not uncharted waters for you; as a Cabinet minister, you would have deliberated over previous clemency petitions. Despite your office’s lack of executive standing in matters of clemency, the Prime Minister has indicated that he is ready to take into account the considered views of the President.
We thus urge you to request that the Cabinet to evaluate the case against Roslan with close scrutiny. The decision will reflect the values of justice that the country wants to uphold – the responsibility to mete out punishment only when a man is proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and the obligation to eliminate the possibility of error as we hold the noose in our hands.
A mistaken execution would be a taint on our collective conscience. We implore you to advise the Cabinet to spare Roslan’s life to avoid the chance of that mistake.