Singapore Executes Disabled Malaysian Drug Convict

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore on Wednesday executed a mentally disabled Malaysian man convicted of a drug-related offense after a court rejected a last-minute challenge by his mother and international appeals to spare him.

Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 34, had been on death row for more than a decade after being convicted of trafficking around 43 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin in Singapore. The city-state government said its use of the death penalty for drug-related crimes was clearly marked at the borders.

Nagaenthran’s family and social activists confirmed the execution on Wednesday.

“On this point, can I declare that Malaysia is much more humane,” said his sister Sarmila Dharmalingam. “Zero in Singapore on this.”

Nagaenthran’s supporters and lawyers say he has an IQ of 69 and is intellectually disabled, and that executing a mentally ill person is prohibited under international human rights law. male.

Singapore courts ruled, citing testimony from psychiatrists in court, that he was not mentally disabled and understood his actions at the time of his crime.

“Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s name will go down in history as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice,” said Maya Foa, director of the non-governmental organization Reprieve.

“To hang a mentally handicapped and mentally ill man because he was forced to carry less than three tablespoons of diamorphine is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws to which Singapore has chosen to subscribe.”

Nagaenthran and his mother had filed a motion on Monday arguing that it was unconstitutional to proceed with his death sentence and that he may not have had a fair trial because the chief justice presiding over his appeals had been the attorney general when Nagaenthran was convicted in 2010, which the filing suggests could be a conflict of interest.

The court dismissed the motion, calling it “frivolous.”

His family said Nagaenthran’s body will be taken back to their hometown in Malaysia’s northern state of Perak, where they prepared his funeral.

Singapore had halted executions for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic before resuming them with the execution of a drug trafficker in March.

Anyone found with more than 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of heroin faces the death penalty in Singapore, although judges can reduce that sentence to life in prison at their discretion. Attempts to reduce Nagaenthran’s sentence or obtain a presidential pardon have failed.

The Malaysian leader, European Union officials and global figures such as British business tycoon Richard Branson called for Nagaenthran’s life to be spared and used the case to make the case for an end to the capital punishment.

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