Mentally-disabled M’sian drug mule Nagaenthran loses final appeal against death penalty, to be executed in S’pore soon

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Arab News

In a tragic turn of events that have transpired since his circumstances sparked headlines across the world in November, mentally-disabled Malaysian drug mule Nagaenthran A/L K Dharmalingam is said to have lost his final appeal against the death penalty in Singaporean courts. Quoting laywers and other human rights activists who were privy to his circumstances, NPR reports that Nagaenthran is slated to be executed in the island nation in the coming days.

Nagaenthran to face the death penalty after final appeal is thrown out of court

Nagaenthran’s case had spanned a period of nearly a decade and a half, with him initially being detained at the Woodlands Checkpoint in 2009 when he was only 21-years-old. At the time, it was found that he had been attempting to secretly smuggle over 42.72g of diamorphine into Singapore, which had been strapped to his thigh. Since then, he has been put on death row and has been awaiting execution.

Many have called on the Singaporean courts for leniency over Nagaenthran’s sentencing, as it was revealed during a court hearing that the man only had an I.Q level of 69, indicating that he may be suffering from some form of an intellectual disability. However on Tuesday (29th March 2022), a five panel judge from Singapore’s Court of Appeal have rejected a bid from Nagaenthran’s legal team from seeking out for an independent psychiatric assessment.

A photo of Nagaenthran with his family. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
A photo of Nagaenthran with his family. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Nagaenthran’s legal team had also attempted to submit a new medical report conducted by Australian consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Danny Sullivan, executive director of clinical services at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, in hopes of supporting the claim that he was intellectually challenged at the time he committed the offense to no avail.

Dismissing claims of Nagaenthran’s intellectual disability, the courts have continued to reiterate that he was fully-aware of his actions when he had committed them, and had fabricated his academic qualifications to cast the suggestion that he had inferior I.Q., reports Malaysia Now.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister had attempted to intervene

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had earlier written to his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, calling for leniency in handling Nagaenthran’s case. An online petition that had amassed close to 60,0000 signatures requesting for a pardon from Singaporean President Halimah Yacob has also been in vain.

Protests were held against the imposing of the death penalty on Nagaenthran. Source: Arab News
Protests were held against the imposing of the death penalty on Nagaenthran. Source: Arab News

Maya Foa, the director of human rights non-government organisation Reprieve has continued to urge for the nation to reconsider their judgement, and ‘to listen to the cries of mercy within Singapore and around the world’ by sparing Nagaenthran’s life.

“We are extremely concerned about rushed hearings and decisions in this case, in violation of Nagaenthran’s fair trial rights,”

“Nagaenthran should be protected from the death penalty because of his intellectual disability. The heart-wrenching fact that he believes he is going home to his family and talks about sharing home-cooked meals with them shows that he does not fully understand he faces execution and lacks the mental competency to be executed.” she said.

Singapore continues to maintain one of the harshest drug laws in the world, with offenders typically facing the death penalty. However, they may also be communed to a a lifelong prison sentence at the discretion of the judge after sentencing guidelines were amended.

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Also read: A mentally-handicapped M’sian is about to be executed in SG for being a drug mule

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