Human Interest

Singapore defends the execution of intellectually disabled prisoner

Singapore, Jun 30 (EFE).- During an interview with the BBC, Singaporean Interior Minister K. Shanmugam defended the April execution of a prisoner with intellectual disabilities convicted of drug trafficking, saying that in the fight against drugs capital punishment “saves lives.”

On the BBC’s “Hardtalk” program broadcast Wednesday, the minister said drug use is a “very serious” problem in Southeast Asia, and that “thousands of lives are at stake,” arguing that there is evidence that capital punishment against drug traffickers is a deterrent.

The case of the Malaysian Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, with intellectual disabilities, provoked a campaign by various NGOs to obtain his pardon but he was finally executed amid criticism from Malaysia, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.

“The execution of a drug trafficker is a tragedy, the millions of deaths from drug abuse is a statistic. It is like that,” the minister said in the interview.

K.Shanmugam criticized the presenter, Stephen Sackur, for focusing on Nagaenthran for being a man with proven intellectual disability, a deficiency that the Singapore courts did not admit.

According to the politician, in the 1990s Singapore arrested 6,000 people a year for drug-related offenses, while the figure has now fallen by half.

“The trafficker wants to make money. But he, you know, is destroying the lives of consumers, their families…” the minister said.

Groups against the death penalty say, however, that there are no statistics that support that the death penalty curbs the consumption of narcotics.

Singapore has one of the most draconian laws on the planet against drug use and trafficking, which punishes in most cases with the death penalty, carried out by hanging and in a very opaque way, without revealing all those affected .

Anti-death penalty activists warn that death row is virtually saturated and that Singapore could speed up several pending executions, with at least two taking place so far this year, including that of Nagaenthran. EFE


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