“The doors to that cell would witness whether I walked out to my freedom or to my death.”
Once again Jeremy, one of the rare individuals who managed to successfully challenge his death sentence in Singapore, shares his thoughts with us. He walks as a free man today.
*Name has been changed to protect his identity.
There is an eerie silence that engulfs the court room when a death sentence is passed.
Time stood still for a brief moment and my heart beats were very profound. After 3 years locked up in a special watch cell, I was expecting such an outcome even though deep inside I had a glimmer of hope the the judge would base his judgement on the facts of the case because in capital cases there is either life or death. You either walk out of court or take a ride to death row. There’s no two ways about it.
I had to smile to betray the feelings I felt and instead show strength for my family members that had against my strongest objections,opted to attend this day of despair.
It was a very bleak journey to the condemned cell. Silence had decided to take a ride with me. After all the initial pleasantries were observed – my height, weight and prints etc, all recorded – I was led to my new cell. The doors to that cell would witness whether I walked out to my freedom or to my death.
Rumors are aplenty about the atmosphere of the condemned cell block, as are the behaviour of the guys who are housed there. Well they are nothing but rumors made up probably because it’s a place where a very small group of people have in the name of (in)justice be sent to die, a selected few whose death would bring justice. A perverse statement that two wrongs make a right.
Time is spent in total isolation. No two guys can leave the cell at the same time. Conversations are held through brick walls. Laughter is a joy that makes you forget where you are, even for a couple of minutes before reality hits you like an avalanche.
Prayers are observed with discipline. Who else can you cry out to – your deepest sorrows – who else can understand your regrets? Who else can fathom the pain you have dragged your family into? Who else but God, the silent observer, the bearer of mercy and compassion, the architect of the human race, the God of Justice & Injustice?
Time. Abundance of time. Every hour, every minute, and every second pierces you mentally and physically. The waiting game – how we wait for good news, how we hope for a miracle, how we fantasize of one day living a normal life. How we wait! For time is the beast that preys on our minds, our heart and our soul. And for some, time takes away your sanity.
A monotonous cycle to the end. Only darkness without a sliver of light at the end of that tunnel.
Prayers to God for hope of an after life where all sins will be cleansed. Remorse and regret is rewarded without the fear of being judged by men. GOD!
The darkest thoughts are on the day of the hanging itself. The aftermath, the funeral, tears from loved ones. The added shame of your picture posted on the papers informing the world that you were hanged at dawn. Your friends, your relatives, your acquaintances, and your neighbours… Everyone that knew you, will now know that you just suffered an unnatural death in the guise of Justice.
It would seem that the plan is to further embarrass all your loved ones even after death. Make them re-live all the anguish that they are trying so hard to leave behind.
Imagine, just imagine, how evil a punishment we bestow on our fellow human beings, where you physically make a person countdown to the end of his life.
As a society, our palms are stained with the ignorance of the generations before us, for we as a society have done nothing to change it.