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21 April 2024

Pakistani pair set to hang in Singapore for murder


Two Pakistani men face the gallows in Singapore after a court Friday found them guilty of murdering a compatriot over a gambling dispute and dismembering the body.

Street-side tissue sellers Rasheed Muhammad, 45, and Ramzan Rizwan, 28, were convicted of smothering fellow Pakistani Muhammad Noor to death in their lodging house in 2014, before hacking up the body with saws.

The 59-year-old victim's torso and lower limbs were found stuffed in two separate luggage bags in the city-state.

Murder convictions in Singapore are punishable by death and carried out by hanging.

"As the photographs and evidence of the discarded limbs and torso show, both Rasheed and Ramzan acted in concert after the murder as they did before and during it," High Court Judge Choo Han Teck said in his judgement.

Rasheed and Ramzan arrived in Singapore in May 2014, and sold packets of tissue paper for a living.

The dispute started after the pair sought to retrieve Sg$1,100 ($776) Ramzan had lost to the victim in a card game.

After using a shirt to smother the victim, the two men purchased saws to dismember the body.

A bag with the torso was found by an 81-year-old man and Rasheed subsequently led police to a second bag containing the legs, court documents showed.

Defence lawyers for the pair had argued that they did not intend to commit murder, and both blamed each other for the death.

Rasheed, a father of eight, and Ramzan, a father of three, will appeal the conviction, their lawyers told AFP.

Earlier this month, Singapore's highest court upheld the death sentence of a former Singapore policeman for double murder.

Singapore executed four people in 2015, one for murder and three for drug offences, according to prison statistics.

Rights groups have called on Singapore to abolish capital punishment, which was carried over from British colonial rule, but the government argues that it is a deterrent to crime.