Singapore executes mentally disabled man

Singapore executes mentally disabled man

Singapore executed an intellectually disabled Malaysian man who was condemned for a drug offense after a court dismissed a last minute challenge from his mother and international pleas to spare him.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, had been in prison for more than a decade after he was convicted of trafficking 43 grams of heroin into Singapore.

The death penalty for drug crimes is made clear at the borders, according to the city-state's government.

Nagenthran's family and social activists confirmed the execution on Wednesday.

His sister, Sarmila Dharmalingam, said that Malaysia is far more humane.

His brother, Navin Kumar, 22, said the body would be sent back to Malaysia where a funeral would be held in the town of Ipoh.

Nagaenthran's supporters and lawyers said he had an IQ of 69 and was intellectually disabled, and that the execution of a mentally ill person was prohibited under international human rights law.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam's name will go down in history as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice, said Maya Foa, director of non-governmental organisation Reprieve.

An intellectually disabled, mentally unwell man was hanged because he was coerced into carrying less than three tablespoons of diamorphine is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws that Singapore has chosen to sign up to. Nagaenthran and his mother had filed a motion on Monday arguing that it was unconstitutional to proceed with his death sentence and that he may not have been given a fair trial because the chief justice who presided over his appeals had been the attorney-general when Nagaenthran was convicted in 2010.

The motion was dismissed by the court, which described it as frivolous at the end of Tuesday's hearing. Nagaenthran and his family reached through a gap in a glass screen to grasp each others' hands tightly as they wept.

His cries of ma could be heard around the courtroom.

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

Nagaenthran's case has attracted worldwide attention, with a group of UN experts and British billionaire Richard Branson joining Malaysia's Prime Minister and human rights activists to urge Singapore to commute his death sentence.

European Union representatives had also used the case to advocate for ending capital punishment.

Singapore had stopped executing people for two years because of the COVID 19 epidemic before resuming them in March with the execution of a drug trafficker.

Anyone with over 15 grams of heroin faces a death sentence in Singapore, although judges can reduce this to life in prison at their discretion.