Singapore rejects last appeal of disabled prisoner sentenced to death

Singapore, Mar 29 (EFE).- A Singapore court rejected Tuesday the last appeal to stop the execution of a Malaysian prisoner accused of drug trafficking after his lawyers had asked to have exonerated for having an intellectual disability.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam could now only be spared through a presidential pardon if the government agrees.

Following Tuesday’s court decision, Nagaenthran “could be executed at any time” by hanging, Singapore’s method of execution, Singaporean anti-death penalty activist Jolovan Wham said on Twitter.

Nagaenthran was arrested in April 2009 and charged with drug trafficking for trying to cross the border from Malaysia with 42.7 grams of heroin. Singapore’s drug trafficking law, one of the most draconian on the planet, establishes the death penalty from 15 grams of contraband.

Nagaenthran’s lawyers had submitted medical evaluations confirming the defendant’s intellectual deficiency in his conviction appeal, drawing international attention to his case, criticized by the United Nations and the European Union.

The Singapore appeals court Tuesday dismissed requests presented by lawyers of “blatant and egregious abuse of the court processes,” since the law is “unequivocal” about the death penalty, except for very specific circumstances, Kirsten Han, coordinator of NGO Transformative Justice Collective, wrote on Twitter..

The court urged lawyers to “seek legislative change” as the only way to avoid the death penalty, said Han, whose organization fights to eliminate capital punishment on the island.

Nagaenthran is not the only inmate who could imminently be executed after two years without capital punishment deaths in Singapore, as NGOs such as Han’s say the capacity on death row is almost complete, which could accelerate hangings.

A Wednesday execution is scheduled for prisoner Abdul Kahar bin Othman, 68, also convicted of drug trafficking.

According to Han, there are more than 50 men on death row, although she is unaware of the situation in the women’s prison. EFE


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