Branson says no to TV debate with Shanmugam, says dialog on dying penalty ‘wants native voices’

He famous that Singapore “stays amongst a really small group of nations” that proceed to use the dying penalty at scale, in addition to one of many few that does so for drug offences.

Mr Branson has been vocal in his views towards Singapore’s dying penalty for crimes reminiscent of drug trafficking, and spoke out towards the execution of convicted drug trafficker Nagaenthran Dharmalingam earlier this 12 months.

“As you could know, I’m a part of the World Fee on Drug Coverage, a gaggle of world leaders advocating for lasting reform, together with many revered former heads of state and authorities,” he stated.

“We’ve studied the failed struggle on medication for the final 15 years, and with one voice, we urge governments to deal with drug use as a well being difficulty, and to cease the useless and ineffective criminalisation of individuals.

“The members of the Fee journey the world to have interaction governments and different stakeholders in constructive dialogue, and I believe you need to welcome this type of dialogue.”

On the ministry’s invitation, Mr Branson stated a televised debate with its restricted time and scope is “all the time prone to prioritising personalities over points”, and thus “can not do the complexity of the dying penalty any service”.

“It reduces nuanced discourse to soundbites, turns critical debate into spectacle. I can’t think about that’s what you might be searching for,” he stated.

“What Singapore actually wants is a constructive, lasting dialogue involving a number of stakeholders, and a real dedication to transparency and proof.”

He added that whereas he’ll proceed to advocate for the abolition of the dying penalty and lift the problem “wherever (he) can”, the dialog “wants native voices”.

“In Singapore’s case, we’ve been impressed by a number of folks and organisations – advocates, legal professionals, journalists – with expertise, information and information,” he stated.

“The courageous factor for you’ll be to actively interact these Singaporean stakeholders, from Transformative Justice Collective to Mr M Ravi, Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s brave lawyer, and regional voices, such because the Anti-Demise Penalty Asia Community, and deal with them as equals who’re simply as considering Singapore’s progress as I’m positive you might be.

“They need to be listened to, not ignored, or worse but, harassed.”

He stated he could be “completely delighted and can rejoice with (Singapore)” ought to the nation resolve to abolish the dying penalty.

“I hope you …  will ultimately realise that it’s an inhumane, brutal apply that doesn’t save lives – and casts a darkish shadow on Singapore’s fame on this planet.

“There isn’t a proof to assist its continued existence. Simply ask these in Singapore who know.”

CNA has requested MHA for remark.

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