People Urge SG Govt To Stop Execution Of Mentally Disabled M'sian Who Was A Drug Mule

"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.

Cover image via @Mahajoth (Twitter) & MalaysiaNow

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The public is appealing to the Singapore government to stop the execution of a mentally disabled Malaysian scheduled on 10 November

According to a petition that has over 18,600 signatories by the time of writing, Malaysians and Singaporeans alike are calling for the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob to grant clemency to Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for drug trafficking.

Nagaenthran, a Malaysian, was arrested in 2009 at the age of 21 with importing 42.72g of diamorphine into Singapore in a bundle strapped to his thigh at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

While on trial, he testified that he was coerced by a man who assaulted him and threatened to murder his girlfriend. During a forensic psychiatric evaluation, Nagaenthran was also diagnosed with a borderline intellectual disability, with an IQ of 69.

However, the court decided that Nagaenthran had still failed to prove his case and now faces imminent execution on 10 November.

Image via MalaysiaNow

The petition was started as his execution date looms closer, and after Nagaenthran's mother received a letter from the Singaporean government informing her of it

The letter was made public in a Facebook post by Nagaenthran's Singapore-based lawyer M Ravi, who called the execution "despicable", especially with Deepavali drawing close.

"How insensitive [are] the prison authorities to tell his family to come to Singapore and prepare for his funeral during Deepavali?" Ravi questioned.

The letter, dated 26 October from the Singapore Prison Service and addressed to Panchalai Supermaniam who lives in Ipoh, has since gone viral.

It reads: "Please be informed that the death sentence passed on your son, Nagaenthran A/L K Dharmalingam, will be carried out on 10 November 2021 (Wednesday)."

The prison authorities also states that they will help facilitate the family's visit from Malaysia and listed Singapore's COVID-19 requirements for travellers.

Since the letter was shared, more Malaysian and Singaporean activists and rights groups have called for the halt of Nagaenthran's execution

Malaysian rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) urged the Singapore government to stop the execution as it was "shocking and sickening" that a civilised nation should resort to hanging the mentally disabled.

LFL also called on the Malaysian government to convince the Singapore authorities to save now 33-year-old Nagaenthran from their draconian Misuse of Drugs Act and the gallows.

"Nagaenthran is no ordinary death row prisoner; he suffers from mental disability, with an IQ of 69. His condition is diagnosed and certified by a qualified Singapore-based psychiatrist," said LFL adviser N Surendran in a statement on 28 October.

"Despite this, Singapore has over the years ignored all pleas that Nagaenthran be spared execution."

He said going ahead with this hanging will only damage the reputation of the island state, and do nothing to stop the real kingpins of drug trafficking.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) adviser N Surendran (centre), with Nagaenthran's lawyer M Ravi (left), and Nagaenthran's mother Panchalai Supermaniam (right) at a press conference in 2019.

Image via @NewsBFM (Twitter)

Other individuals, campaigns, and human rights groups have also repeated that Nagaenthran's mental impairment should have been sufficient grounds for him to be acquitted from his charges

"His IQ has been assessed to be 69, a level that is internationally recognised as an intellectual disability. During his trial, his defence raised evidence that he suffers from intellectual disabilities that impair his rationality and ability to assess risk," said Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) in a statement on 29 October.

They added that Nagaenthran was also diagnosed with severe alcohol use disorder, severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and borderline intellectual functioning.

"The defence was dismissed despite psychiatric assessment highlighting his inability to make judgments, decision making, impulse control, and ability to assess future consequences."

Besides that, the groups have also said that the execution of a mentally ill person is prohibited under international human rights laws and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), of which Singapore is a signatory of.

According to VICE, Nagaenthran's lawyer Ravi is still putting in all effort to save the man and is in the midst of "finalising legal challenges" with his team despite having exhausted all court appeals, including an appeal to the Singapore president for clemency.

A lawyer and human rights advocate from Kuala Lumpur, Mahajoth Singh, joining the call for the halt of Nagaenthran's execution.

Image via @Mahajoth (Twitter)

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