Crime & Justice

NGO pans Singapore over disabled inmate’s planned execution

Bangkok, Nov 4 (EFE).- A rights organization called on Singaporean authorities Thursday to stop the execution of a Malaysian prisoner with intellectual disabilities sentenced to death for entering the country with a small amount of drugs more than a decade ago.

The International Federation for Human Rights criticized the case handling of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, whose execution is planned for Wednesday, after he was arrested in April 2009 with about 43 grams of heroin during a border check and sentenced to death a year later.

“The disregard for human rights and international standards in Dharmalingam’s case is compounded by the cruel treatment of his family. After keeping him on death row for more than a decade, they are now rushing to execute him and making it almost impossible for his family to visit him,” said Adilur Rahman Khan, the organization’s secretary general.

The organization said Thursday that Dharmalingam’s psychological evaluation during the judicial process concluded he suffers from mental problems and intellectual disability.

The defendant’s legal representatives have filed an appeal with the country’s Superior Court, which will be analyzed Monday, to try to stop next week’s execution in Changi prison.

According to the organization, Singaporean authorities told the inmate’s relatives Oct. 28, which, together with entry Covid-19 restrictions to Singapore implemented by the pandemic, makes it difficult for them to travel and visit Dharmalingam.

Amnesty International urged in a letter sent Wednesday to the Singaporean President Halimah Yacob for him to “intervene immediately” to stop the execution and avoid committing “multiple violations of international human rights laws.”

It added that the detainee’s intellectual problems, also demonstrated in subsequent analyzes in 2013, 2016 and 2017, “may have affected his ability to assess the risks and his account of the circumstances of the crime.”

Malaysian authorities are also pushing for the execution to be overturned.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said Wednesday he sent a letter to Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan commenting on the case, adding that Kuala Lumpur is observing and offering Dharmalingam and his family consular assistance.

Singapore last executed four inmates by hanging in 2019, two of them over drug offenses, the organization said.

Singapore and Malaysia, where capital punishment is also applied, say the death penalty deters drug trafficking, assassinations and other crimes amid criticism from human rights organizations. EFE


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