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Indian-origin Singaporean spared the gallows

Monday, 6 January 2014 - 5:22pm IST | Agency: PTI

A Singaporean of Indian origin was today spared the noose after being sentenced to death for drug offences in October 2012.

Subashkaran Pragasam, 29, was re-sentenced instead to life in prison and 15 strokes of the cane by the Singapore High Court under an amended law relating to drug trafficking, The Straits Times reported. Pragasam is the second convicted drug offender to be spared the death sentence. A 30-year-old Malaysian drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong was re-sentenced to life in prison and caning in November last year.

The reprieve for Pragasam follows recently-amended drug laws which give judges the discretion to impose life-terms and caning on drug traffickers, instead of the mandatory death penalty.

These apply to drug couriers who help the authorities in a substantive way, and those whose mental illnesses make them less responsible for their actions, according to media reports. The public prosecutor certified that Pragasam had substantively assisted in disrupting drug-trafficking activities.

Justice Choo Han Teck found that that he had only been acting as a courier when caught in November 2008 with nine packets containing 186.62 g of heroin and commuted his punishment accordingly.

Pragasam was sentenced to death in October 2012 following a two-year trial. 

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