Social Issues

Singapore considers final appeal of death row inmate with disability

Singapore, Mar 1 (EFE).- A court in Singapore heard Tuesday the last appeal to a death sentence for drug trafficking against a Malaysian prisoner with mental illness, whose case has been denounced by international organizations.

“The hearing of Nagen (Dharmalingam) has ended and the verdict is awaited, with the judges assuring that they will return soon,” the Transformative Justice Collective organization wrote on its social media accounts.

Kirsten Han, coordinator of this local NGO, which fights to eliminate the death penalty in the city-state, told EFE that a resolution was not expected Tuesday and that she believed this would be “the last opportunity in terms of judicial requests” to prisoner Nagaenthran Dharmalingam.

The Malaysian was arrested in April 2009 for smuggling 42.72 grams of heroin into Singapore and was sentenced to death a year later.

In November 2021, a Singapore court delayed his execution until Tuesday’s appeal by his lawyers was heard.

The case of Nagaenthran, with a diagnosed intellectual disability, has sparked criticism from the numerous organizations against capital punishment, the United Nations and the European Union delegation in Singapore, which have called for his execution to be halted.

If it rules in favor of his execution, the last resort to avoid hanging would be a presidential pardon, although such a thing has not happened in more than a decade.

Panchalai, the prisoner’s mother, wrote a clemency petition to Singaporean leaders speaking about Nagaenthran’s intellectual disabilities and said she had a lack of support during the prosecution in trying to make her son understand the charges against him.

As Transformative Justice Collective publishes on her website, the Malaysian’s mother said she regrets her son’s mental state is “so poor” that he cannot understand he will be hanged.

“I am very worried because Nagen doesn’t seem to understand that ‘execution’ means that he is going to die,” she said.

Singapore has one of the most draconian anti-drug laws on the planet, and activists said the current virtual saturation on death row – where it is estimated that the majority are convicted of drug trafficking – could lead to an acceleration of executions after two years of hiatus. EFE


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