The photo shoots offered to death row inmates in Singapore before their execution elicit mixed emotions among families. While some appreciate having a last photograph as a memento, critics argue that the practice adds a superficial layer of compassion to the executions. The photos, often filled with personal touches, serve as bittersweet reminders of the inmates’ final moments and the controversial nature of capital punishment.
The practice of offering photo shoots to death row inmates in Singapore has sparked a mixture of emotions among families. The photographs, taken shortly before an inmate’s hanging, provide a glimpse into the condemned individual’s last days. The Singapore Prison Service claims that participation is voluntary and allows families to have recent photographs of their loved ones. Critics argue that the practice adds a “veneer of thoughtfulness” to the executions, while family members express conflicting sentiments, acknowledging the importance of having a last photo but finding the practice cruel.
Families Reflect on the Photos
Relatives of the inmates who participated in the photo shoots share their thoughts on the matter. Nazira Lajim Hertslet, sister of Nazeri Lajim, who was executed for drug trafficking, expresses sadness but also appreciates having a last photo of her brother. Leelavathy Suppiah, sister of Tangaraju Suppiah, reflects on the emotional toll and the nightly tears caused by her brother’s execution. She finds solace in the framed photograph that captures his smile.
Criticism and Controversy
Amnesty International and other rights groups continue to advocate for the abolition of capital punishment in Singapore, while the government argues that it is an effective deterrent against crime. Critics of the photo shoot practice argue that it adds a superficial sense of compassion to the executions. Activist Kokila Annamalai suggests that the photos serve as “love letters” to the families but do not negate the cruelty of the situation.
The Personal Touches and Last Moments
The photo sessions allow inmates to strike particular poses or wear clothing that holds meaning for their loved ones. The families appreciate these personal touches, as they become lasting memories. However, the underlying knowledge that these photos capture the condemned individuals’ final days evokes a sense of cruelty and anguish.