Singapore executes mentally disabled man despite outcry

Nagaenthran Ok. Dharmalingam was arrested in 2009 for trafficking a small quantity of heroin into the city-state, which has among the world’s hardest medication legal guidelines, and handed a loss of life sentence the next yr.

(FILES) In this file picture taken on 3 November 2021 activists maintain placards earlier than submitting a memorandum to parliament in protest of the approaching execution of Nagaenthran Ok. Picture: AFP

SINGAPORE – A mentally disabled Malaysian man was executed in Singapore on Wednesday, his household mentioned, after shedding a protracted authorized battle and regardless of a storm of worldwide criticism and appeals for clemency.

Nagaenthran Ok. Dharmalingam was arrested in 2009 for trafficking a small quantity of heroin into the city-state, which has among the world’s hardest medication legal guidelines, and handed a loss of life sentence the next yr.

The plan to hold him sparked widespread criticism as a result of considerations about his mental disabilities, with the United Nations, European Union and British billionaire Richard Branson amongst these condemning it.

“It is unbelievable that Singapore proceeded with the execution despite international appeals to spare his life,” his sister Sarmila Dharmalingam advised AFP.

The 34-year-old was executed within the early hours, she mentioned from Malaysia, leaving her household “extremely saddened” and “in a state of shock”.

Nagaenthran spent greater than a decade mounting authorized challenges, however they had been dismissed by Singapore’s courts, and the city-state’s president rejected appeals for clemency.

His physique shall be introduced again to the Malaysian metropolis of Ipoh for burial, his sister mentioned. Singaporean authorities didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Reprieve, an NGO that campaigns towards the loss of life penalty, mentioned Nagaenthran was “the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice”.

“Hanging an intellectually disabled, mentally unwell man… is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws that Singapore has chosen to sign up to,” mentioned the group’s director, Maya Foa.


Nagaenthran was initially scheduled to be hanged in November however that was delayed as he sought to attraction on the grounds that executing somebody with psychological disabilities contravenes worldwide regulation.

He was arrested aged 21 as he tried to enter Singapore with a bundle of heroin weighing about 43 grams (one and a half ounces) – equal to about three tablespoons.

Supporters say he has an IQ of 69, a stage recognised as a incapacity, and was coerced into committing the crime.

But authorities have defended his conviction, saying authorized rulings discovered he knew what he was doing on the time of the offence.

His mom mounted a determined Eleventh-hour authorized problem on Tuesday, but it surely was swiftly rejected by a decide, prompting his relations to interrupt down in tears in courtroom.

In an interview with AFP on Tuesday, Branson had urged Singaporean President Halimah Yacob to grant Nagaenthran clemency, calling the loss of life penalty “inhumane”.

After exhausting the same old appeals course of, presidential clemency was the one avenue remaining to halt the execution.

Nagaenthran’s case has sparked considerations in some quarters in Singapore, and tons of of demonstrators attended two protests towards the hanging in current weeks.

Protests are uncommon in tightly managed Singapore. Without prior police approval, the one place they are often held is in a single downtown park.

Vigils and small protests have additionally been held in Malaysia, and the nation’s king and prime minister had each appealed for Nagaenthran’s life to be spared.

A petition calling for Singapore’s president to grant him clemency garnered greater than 100,000 signatures.

The city-state resumed executions final month after a hiatus of greater than two years, when it executed one other drug trafficker.

Activists now worry authorities are set to embark on a wave of hangings as a number of different death-row convicts have lately had appeals rejected.

Another Malaysian drug trafficker is scheduled to be hanged on Friday.

Despite mounting stress to abolish the loss of life penalty, Singapore insists capital punishment is an efficient deterrent towards crime.

The city-state has a low crime price, and believes the loss of life penalty has helped preserve it one of many most secure locations in Asia.

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