Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-old Malaysian debt collector, was found complicit in trafficking at least 28.5 grams of heroin into Singapore back in 2011, involving two other individuals as drug couriers, according to the Straits Times.
Many hearings in Singapore have been adjourned since lockdown was introduced in early April, with those deemed essential held remotely.
Mr Genasan's hearing proceeded via video conferencing, Reuters was told by a spokesperson from the country's Supreme Court.
Defense lawyer Peter Fernando said the Supreme Court announced the penalty to his client, Punithan Genasan from Malaysia, in a virtual hearing Friday. The spokesperson, who declined to be recognized underneath court docket coverage, confirmed Genasan's case was the primary "the place a dying sentence was pronounced by distant listening to in Singapore". Using technology like Zoom app to award death sentence makes it even worse, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division speaking to Reuters.
The government maintains that hanging drug traffickers sends a powerful message of deterrence against a socially destructive crime.
Of those 18, 11 had been charged with drug-related offences.
The city-state managed to keep its outbreak in check in the early stages but was hit by a second wave of infections, mainly affecting low-paid migrant workers in crowded dormitories.
Among Singaporeans, however, the use of the death penalty is largely uncontroversial. It plans to gradually ease restrictions starting next month. His lawyer did not object to the sentence being handed down via Zoom. Nevertheless, he went ahead to condemn Singapore's death sentence policy on drug trafficking that defies worldwide law and standards.
A similar case was reported in Nigeria where Lagos judge Mojisola Dada awarded death sentence to Olalekan Hameed in the case of killing his employer's mother.
Amnesty International's death penalty advisor Chiara Sangiorgio said: "Whether via Zoom or in person, a death sentence is always cruel and inhumane".
"It's pretty astounding the prosecutors and the court are so callous that they fail to see that a man facing capital punishment should have the right to be present in court to see his accusers", he told AFP.
"At a time when the global attention is focused on saving and protecting lives in a pandemic, the pursuit of the death penalty is all the more abhorrent", it added.