After the court’s verdict, more than 52000 Malaysians have signed an online petition to free Nagaenthran.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, a Malaysian with an I.Q. of 69, was arrested in 2009 for transporting an ounce and half heroin into Singapore. He was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to death. After a series of legal battles over a decade, the 33-year-old man is supposed to be hanged on November 10.
His I.Q. is assessed to be at 69. And during the trial, his statement was man assaulted him and threatened to kill his girlfriend if he didn’t do what the man said. But later, he changed his statement and said he did it because he needed money. His lawyer, M. Ravi, wrote on Facebook, Nagaenthran, now 33, “could have a mental age below 18” and that the disability doesn’t allow him to understand or appreciate deterrence. “Therefore, we contend that the execution is irrational and a capricious act of the state,”
Human rights groups are urging Singapore to halt Nagaenthran’s hanging. ADPAN claimed that Singapore had violated international laws that restrict the application of the death penalty to the “most serious crime,” which excludes drug offenses and of sentencing a mentally disabled person to death. A group of activists, lawyers, and Malaysians rallied outside Malaysia’s parliament so that the government intervened.
"Nagaenthran is no ordinary death row prisoner; he suffers from mental disability… Despite this, Singapore has over the years ignored all pleas that [he] be spared execution," said Malaysian rights group Lawyers for Liberty. #SaveNagaenthran https://t.co/kbYc2ce5XW
— SAYS (@saysdotcom) November 1, 2021
Meanwhile, the court continues to reject Nagenthran’s lawyer’s appeals, arguing that he has an I.Q. of 69 and cannot fully understand his actions. After the court’s verdict, more than 52000 Malaysians have signed an online petition to free Nagaenthran.
The Singaporean government argued that Nagaenthran had received a fair trial, and the court took into account his mental disabilities while making the decision but didn’t think that his “mental responsibility for his offense was not substantially impaired.”
Singapore has one of the strictest laws on the planet. It uses capital punishment for crimes such as vandalism and robbery. Singapore last had an execution in 2019 when it hanged four people.
Is Singapore breaking its own law?
Singapore’s law exempts people from capital punishment who were in unsound minds while committing the offense. These people, once they were proven to be of unsound mind when they commit capital crimes, and once they were found guilty, they will not be given the death penalty. These people will be detained at medical facilities, prisons, or some other safe places in custody. They will be subjected to a psychiatric review of their mental conditions until they are suitable for release.
After Nagaenthran was convicted, a psychiatric analysis was done on him, and the results were that he was mentally impaired. Also, along with his disability, he was dealing with an alcohol problem at the time of the offense.
Nagaenthran’s legal team will give one last effort on Monday, arguing that the execution would violate Singapore’s constitution.