Crime & Justice

Singapore to execute intellectually disabled Indian-origin drug convict

Singapore, Apr 20 (EFE).- Singapore Wednesday said that an Indian-origin prisoner accused of drug trafficking would hang to death next week, despite criticism as the man has intellectual disabilities.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a 34-year-old Malaysian-Indian citizen, was arrested in April 2009 and charged with drug trafficking for allegedly carrying 42.7 grams of heroin into the city-state, which has one of the most draconian anti-drug laws.

He was convicted and sentenced to death a year later.

A court rejected his final appeal to suspend the death sentence last month.

Since then, the prisoner only had the last possibility of receiving a presidential pardon, which has not happened so far.

His sister received a call from the prison service on Wednesday, informing her that the state plans to hang her brother on Apr.27, said Kirsten Han, coordinator of non-profit the Transformative Justice Collective,

The trial of Nagaenthran had drawn global attention and sparked a local campaign for the transformation of Singapore’s criminal justice system that gives death for carrying 15 grams of drugs.

The United Nations, the European Union, and Malaysia have criticized the trial that has put Singapore’s zero-tolerance for drugs under scrutiny.

Nagaenthran’s lawyers had submitted medical reports confirming that he has intellectual disabilities.

Dismissing his appeal to suspend the death penalty over his mental condition, the court said the case to commute the sentencing was “baseless and without merit, both as a matter of fact and of law.”

“Counsel may well have passionate views that run counter to the imposition of the death penalty. At a societal level, the proper recourse for them and indeed for anyone similarly situated is to seek legislative change if they are minded to do so,” the court said.

Nagaenthran is not the only inmate who could imminently go to the gallows in Singapore.

Activists warn executions could accelerate as many inmates are on death.

Singapore hanged drug convict Abdul Kahar bin Othman, 68, on Mar.30, in the first execution in two years.

Transformative Justice Collective, which fights against the death penalty, says more than 50 men are on death row in Singapore, the highest number so far. EFE


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