The Court rejected an appeal by a man who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking. This is even though he was said to have intellectual disabilities.
Nagaenthran Dharmalingam is a 34 year old Malaysian citizen who was convicted in 2010 for smuggling 42.7g of heroin into Singapore. His lawyers argued that his mental abilities have deteriorated and that he doesn’t understand his actions. They said that with an IQ of 69, he must not be hanged.
His Lawyers made two applications – one for him to be assessed by an independent psychiatrist, and the other on whether he is even fit to be executed. Both applications were rejected for being “baseless”.
The Court didn’t accept statements by his lawyer and brother, who wrote about his mental condition. It said that they were not qualified to assess his mental state. It also rejected observations by a psychiatric doctor because he didn’t assess Nagaenthran himself.
“Meanwhile, they found that the Prison Superintendent who had testified to Nagen’s mental competence had provided reliable evidence as he had ‘no interest in seeing him executed’.”-Transformative Justice Collective
The Court also said that the applications were last minute efforts to purposely delay his death sentence.
The case has attracted international attention. We are now under scrutiny for violating international laws by sentencing someone with intellectual disability to death. The UN and British billionaire Richard Branson have spoken up against his death sentence. Local activists also wrote letters to Halimah Yacob to seek leniency but they were all rejected.
Nagaenthran may be hanged any time now. How can this be tolerated? Is it wrong to try to save a life? How will other countries see us?