Human Lives Human Rights: Malaysian national Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam who spend more than a decade on a death row, was originally scheduled to be hanged on Wednesday for drug offences.
A Singapore court on Tuesday rejected an appeal against his execution, dismissing an argument put forward by his legal team that he should be spared because he was mentally impaired.
Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, also known as Nega is convicted of trafficking 42.7 grammes (1.5 oz) of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the world’s toughest narcotics laws.
His plight has attracted international 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 death sentence.
Dharmalingam’s lawyer Violet Netto had previously sought an independent psychiatric review for her client after objecting to presenting his prison medical records, citing confidentiality.
But turning down a request for an independent review, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said on Tuesday it had been unreasonable not to share the medical records and there was no admissible evidence showing any decline in his mental condition.
The Singapore government says the death penalty is a major deterrent against drug trafficking and that the majority of its citizens support capital punishment.
Throughout his 18 years in power, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s cabinet has not once approved an order for the President to grant clemency to someone facing execution. But if there was ever a time to do so, it would be now.
From 2016 to 2019, Singapore hanged 25 people – the majority for drug-related offences, according to official data.
The government must act immediately to stop a grave travesty of justice from taking place and end its inhumane, shameful strategy of using the death penalty to address drug-related problems.
The use of the death penalty in Singapore violates international human rights law and standards. The death penalty is never the solution to crime or the solution to address the risks and harms of using drugs. We call on the government to abolish the death penalty once and for all.
Anti-death penalty group Reprieve said it believed Dharmalingam is intellectually disabled and should be protected from the death penalty.