A man has been sentenced to death in Singapore over a Zoom call, which is probably not how Zoom CEO Eric Yuan envisioned his product being put to use. Reuters reports it's "one of just two known cases where a capital punishment verdict has been delivered remotely." It follows a Nigerian case earlier this month in which a man was sentenced to death for murdering his employer's brother, per the Guardian. With Singapore under lockdown due to COVID-19, only essential cases are proceeding. No arguments were presented at Friday's hearing, in which a foreign national was sentenced to be hanged. Punithan Genasan, 37, of Malaysia was convicted of trafficking heroin in a 2011 case.
A rep for Singapore's Supreme Court said the case was presented via video call "for the safety of all involved in the proceedings," per the Guardian. But "Singapore's use of the death penalty is inherently cruel and inhumane, and the use of remote technology like Zoom to sentence a man to death makes it even more so," Human Rights Watch's deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson, tells Reuters. Genasan's lawyer, however, says he did not object to the arrangement as only the verdict was presented. He adds his client is considering an appeal. Singapore is one of only four nations where people may be executed for drug-related offenses. (A jury trial is also playing out on Zoom.)