Lawyers are making last-resort efforts to save a mentally impaired Malaysian man from being hanged in Singapore for drug charges next week.
What’s happening: Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 33, is scheduled to face execution by hanging on Nov. 10, and his lawyers are now planning to make a final appeal this week to save him, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
- “We will be filing an application in court [on Tuesday]. When we file it we will serve it on the Attorney-General,” M Ravi, a Singaporean lawyer who is representing 25 death row inmates, including Dharmalingam, told The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Dharmalingam’s legal team was unsuccessful in their attempt to appeal against the Singaporean court’s ruling. They also appealed to Singapore President Halimah Yacob but to no avail.
- Despite a diagnosis by a Singaporean psychiatrist, the court still pushed the death sentence on Dharmalingam, arguing that he had “conflicting accounts of the reasons for his offending.”
- In addition to Singapore, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has also asked other nations not to impose the death sentence on people “suffering from any form of mental disorder.”
- Human Rights Watch Asia Division Deputy Director Phil Robertson said, “Going forward with this execution would be outrageous and unacceptable, and Singapore should stop it now before it’s too late.”
- “We have been calling upon Singapore not to execute Nagaenthran. We’ve been asking them to commute the sentence,” Malaysian lawyer N Surendran said. “He is intellectually impaired. He’s got an IQ of 69.”
What happened: Dharmalingam was arrested with 42.72 grams (1.5 ounces) of heroin strapped to his leg in 2009 after setting foot in Singapore from Malaysia. His lawyers argued that he “acted as a drug mule under duress from a friend who had assaulted him and threatened to kill his girlfriend.”
- “While we recognize the danger since he was on death row, we didn’t expect even Singapore to stoop this low, to be very frank,” Surendran said. “It seems a completely heartless and mechanical way of proceeding with things.”
- Around 20,000 people have reportedly signed an online petition, set up by human rights advocate Olivia Seow on Thursday, asking President Halimah Yacob for clemency, Coconuts Kuala Lumpur reported.
- Right groups such as Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) and Malaysia’s Lawyers For Liberty, in which Surendran is an advisor, condemned Singapore for its ruling.
- “The execution of any person with mental or intellectual disabilities is extremely unconscionable and reprehensible,” ADPAN executive coordinator Dobby Chew said in a statement on Friday. “The person would be unlikely to have the appropriate capacity to stand trial or even appreciate the severity of their predicaments.”
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