By David Gilbert for VICE
A man was sentenced to death in Singapore for drug trafficking offenses. In a country that has zero tolerance for illicit drugs, that’s nothing new, but in a first for the city-state, the sentence was delivered remotely, via Zoom.
Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-old Malaysian, was sentenced to death by hanging after he was initially found guilty of heroin trafficking back in 2011.
Genasan’s lawyer, Peter Fernando, told Reuters that his client received the judge’s verdict on a Zoom call last Friday and is considering an appeal — though he didn’t object to the sentence being delivered via video call as no other legal arguments were presented.
The Singapore authorities said the death sentence was delivered via Zoom “for the safety of all involved in the proceedings.”
Singapore has suspended all but the most urgent court cases since it went into lockdown in early April to combat the spread of coronavirus.
But rights groups have slammed the decision to deliver such a verdict remotely.