A Malaysian man who trafficked three tablespoons of heroin into Singapore in 2009 was hanged last week despite an international outcry to halt the execution.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was on death row for over 10 years before he was hanged at the age of 34 last Wednesday. His mother made a last-minute attempt to spare his life, however authorities did not accept the submissions stating that people are made aware of strict laws surrounding drug trafficking at the border.
The court also said that it was a “blatant and egregious abuse of the court’s process”.
Her appeal was put forward in December where she claimed, “Nagen got mixed up in criminal activity and sentenced to death because he has disabilities that affect his reasoning and judgement”. Claims were also made that his IQ was 69 and he was coerced into transporting the drugs in order to pay off his debt.
Legal NGO Reprieve Director Maya Foa said that his execution was unlawful.
“Hanging an intellectually disabled man because he was coerced into carrying less than three tablespoons of diamorphine is clearly unjustifiable,” they said.
“His name will go down in history as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice.”
The UN has also condemned the hanging saying, “the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is incompatible with international human rights law”. According to the Washington Post majority of Singaporean citizens are in favour of the death penalty for drug offences.
One other man has been hanged for a similar drug offence while another is set to be executed in the coming weeks. Hangings were put off during the pandemic but are now going ahead with authorities expected to quickly clear the backlog.
Capital punishment in Singapore takes place at the Changi Prison at dawn and is applied mainly to drug and murder offences. Convicted criminals are given four days’ notice before their execution.