Singapore executes drug trafficker despite appeals

Singapore executes drug trafficker despite appeals

On April 25, 2022, people display placards and led lights during a vigil for Malaysian national Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, sentenced to death for trafficking heroin into Singapore, at Speakers Corner in Singapore. ROSLAN RAHMAN AFP SINGAPORE - Singapore executed a Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking on Wednesday despite appeals for clemency on the grounds that he had an intellectual disability, his family said.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, had been in jail for more than a decade for trafficking 44 grams 1.5 oz of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the world's toughest narcotics laws. His lawyers had filed multiple appeals against his execution, saying he was intellectually disabled.

His brother Navin Kumar, 22, said by telephone the execution had been carried out and said the body would be sent back to Malaysia where a funeral would be held in the town of Ipoh.

A Singapore court turned down a legal challenge put forward by Nagaenthran's mother, clearing the way for execution by hanging.

Dharmalingam and his family reached through a gap in a glass screen to grasp each others' hands tightly as they wept at the end of Tuesday's hearing. His cries of ma could be heard around the courtroom.

Singaporean authorities don't usually make a statement on executions.

On Monday, about 300 people held a candlelight vigil in a Singapore park to protest against the planned hanging.

Anti-death penalty group Reprieve described the execution as a tragic miscarriage of justice but also said it felt it could be a watershed moment for opposition to the death penalty in Singapore.

On Tuesday evening a vigil was held outside the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, with one protester carrying a placard reading Singapore spare Nagaenthran the noose. Amnesty International Malaysia said on Twitter that they were unafraid of this incredible cruelty and called for the fight against the death penalty to continue in his memory.

Nagaenthran's case attracted world attention, with a group of United Nations experts and British billionaire Richard Branson joining Malaysia's prime minister and human rights activists to urge Singapore to commute his sentence.

Nagaenthran's IQ was found to be 69, a level recognized as an intellectual disability, according to his lawyers and activists. The courts ruled that he knew what he was doing at the time of his crime, and there was no admissible evidence showing any decline in his mental condition.

The death penalty is a deterrent against drug traffickers, and most of its citizens support capital punishment.