Crime & Justice

Singapore executes intellectually disabled man despite global outcry

Singapore, Apr 27 (EFE).- Singapore on Wednesday hanged an intellectually disabled Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking, despite global condemnation and pleas to halt his execution.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, was hanged early Wednesday morning at Changi Prison, activist and Transformative Justice Collective member Kirsten Han confirmed to EFE from outside the prison where the inmate’s brother identified his body.

A Singapore court on Tuesday dismissed a last-minute appeal filed by the mother of the Malaysian, whose case has sparked condemnation from the European Union, British billionaire Richard Branson and the United Nations, which called this week for the execution to be halted.

At least 300 people gathered on Monday at Hong Lim Park – the only place where the government allows protests – to call for a stay of execution of Nagaenthran and another Malaysian prisoner, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, also on death row for drug trafficking and due to be hanged this week.

Nagaenthran was arrested in April 2009 and the following year sentenced to death for trafficking 42.72 grams (about three tablespoons) of diamorphine (heroin) into the city-state, which has some of the world’s harshest drug laws and imposes the death penalty for anyone found guilty of importing more than 15 grams of diamorphine.

Lawyers for the Malaysian, who spent more than a decade on death row, had filed numerous appeals to stay his execution on the grounds that he had an intellectual disability including an IQ of 69, according to his lawyers and activists.

The petitions were dismissed by the judges, who said that Nagaenthran was aware of what he was doing at the time of the offense.

The United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Monday urged the Singaporean government to halt the executions of Nagaenthran and Datchinamurthy, who was in 2015 sentenced to death for importing around 45g of diamorphine.

“The use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is incompatible with international human rights law. Countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the ‘most serious crimes,’ which is interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing,” OHCHR said.

It also noted an “alarming acceleration in execution notices in the country.”

Activists such as Han have warned that the large number of death row inmates in the city-state is leading to an acceleration in executions after a hiatus of two years.

Two prisoners have been executed in under a month, the first on Mar. 30, a Singaporean also convicted of drug trafficking.

A wake will be held for Nagaenthran on Wednesday afternoon before his body is repatriated. EFE


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