A Swiss man accused of vandalism in Singapore faces being caned and jailed for up to three years if convicted.
Oliver Fricker is charged with vandalising a metro train but Human Rights Watch says the punishment is inhumane.
Philip Robertson is the Deputy Asia Director for Human Rights Watch in Bangkok said this form of punishment is tantamount to torture.
“The issue is that it’s a moral matter, you can’t torture people. That’s something that the UN has agreed upon, that has become a norm around the world. And caning is considered a form of torture. It’s a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. And under the UN convention of torture, it’s included in that definition,” he said.
Subhas Anandan is a criminal lawyer in Singapore and says regardless of international laws, caning is an accepted and fundamental form of punishment.
“What here with Singapore, we do, or what we say is that our country will have to be, we have to do what is good for our country. And the system says that we need hanging as a punishment. We need caning as a punishment. So it does not matter what the UN says. We have to do what we have to do to protect our own society,” Anandan said.
Singapore takes pride in its reputation as a clean and safe city and provides severe sentences for vandals.
Fricker, who works in Singapore as a technology consultant, has been released on 50,000 euros bail.
A British man, Dane Alexander Lloyd, also allegedly involved in spraying graffiti on a train is believed to have fled for Hong Kong.