Raj Kumar Aiyachami was sentenced to death for drug offenses in Singapore but cleared his name thanks to a chance encounter with a cellmate whose dead hamster held the key to his freedom
A man sentenced to death for drug offenses in Singapore was saved from execution at the last minute thanks to a dead hampster.
Raj Kumar Aiyachami had been waiting for his noose date in the Asian country since 2015, when he was found with nearly 2kg of cannabis after being mixed up with a drug dealer.
Despite protesting that he only wanted to order legal butterfly tobacco that only smelled like cannabis, Raj was sentenced to death.
Ultimately, however, Raj’s happiness came through his friendship with his cellmate, Mark Kalaivanan Tamilarasan, who had remarkable evidence to clear his name.
Amazingly, both men had picked up at the same location on the same day in 2015.
At an appeals court, Mark told officers he went to buy a bag of Ganges that day but was given a bag of butterflies instead.
The reason Mark was able to remember the date, September 21st so clearly, was because it was the same day his beloved hamster Pat died.
As a result, Mark got a tattoo on his left middle finger that reads “RIP 9/21/15 PAT.”
Speaking after the verdict, Singapore’s Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon called it a remarkable coincidence and said Mark’s new statement should be taken seriously.
He said: “Mark effectively engaged in a very serious criminal offense for which he had not been investigated or charged at the time of his testimony.
“He had a lot to lose and apparently nothing to gain if everything was wrong.”
Whether Mark has now ended up with the death penalty in exchange for Raj’s release remains uncertain.
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