Singapore was criticized as "cruel and inhumane" on Wednesday after a death sentence was imposed on the video conferencing platform Zoom.
Malaysian drug dealer Punithan Genasan was sentenced to a hearing on Friday for restrictions on fighting the spread of the coronavirus remotely.
The 37-year-old was found guilty of trafficking at least 28.5 grams of heroin, a crime that can be punished with death under the city state's strict anti-drug laws.
The Supreme Court said it was the first criminal trial to sentenced to death in a distant hearing.
Zoom has become popular during the worldwide blocking of viruses for everything from virtual school classes to business meetings – but Human Rights Watch criticized its use to combat the death penalty.
"The death penalty is inherently cruel and inhumane, and Singapore's use of remote technology like Zoom to sentence a man to death makes it worse," said the group's deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson.
"It's pretty surprising that the prosecutors and the court are so numb that they don't realize that a man who is on the death penalty should have the right to be in court to see his accusers," said he told AFP.
The Supreme Court said the hearing was "remotely safe for everyone involved in the process".
Singapore claims that the death penalty, a legacy of British colonial rule, is necessary to deter crime, although right-wing groups have long called for the punishment to be abolished.
As in many other countries, Singapore has ordered most companies to shut down and advised people to stay at home to fight the virus.
The city-state managed to keep its outbreak at bay early, but was hit by a second wave of infections that mainly affected poorly paid migrant workers in crowded dormitories.
Singapore has reported over 29,000 coronavirus infections, including 22 deaths.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)