Spend a moment with these drug war victims

Singapore temporarily halted mandatory executions in 2011. After giving judges some discretion, it has started hanging drug offenders again. The first victims: Tang Hai Liang, 36, and Foong Chee Peng, 48, were executed July 18 for heroin. Reuters files this report. Tang was convicted of having 90 grams of heroin, worth about $3,500 in the U.S., and Foong had 40 grams.

No photos were available. In their honor, we use a photo of Nguyen Van, 25, an Australian who Singapore executed in 2005, for 400 grams of heroin. Is the term “war crimes” appropriate?

Governments execute thousands of drug offenders every year. (The photos on the jump of this story bring life to those being killed.) Iran doubled executions last year to 704, mostly drug offenders, reports Amnesty International. China schedules executions of drug offenders — they’re shot in head or hanged — to show support for the United Nations’ abhorrent International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, held every June 26.

This smuggled photo series shows female drug offenders being prepared for execution on June 24, 2003. The photos, which appeared in Britain’s Daily Mail, are mostly upbeat, cheerful and hard for a Western mind to comprehend. These women are all drug offenders playing cards in a room shortly before their 7 a.m. executions. 

However, this photo is chilling. He Xiuling, 25, is in the front of a line of 16 inmates being led to their executions. She was found with 7,000 grams of an unspecified drug. 

The United States should push to end the United Nations’ anti-drug day because of the murders that result. Bigotry has its consequences. The Transnational Institute’s Drugs and Democracy Program has a “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign to challenge the violence and imprisonment approach advocated by the United Nations. 

China executed Ugandan businessman Ham Andrew Ngobi for drugs on June 24. This Ugandan news report brings the victim to life.


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