Singapore Executes Intellectually Disabled Nagaenthran Dharmalingam Over Drug Charges, Court Dismisses Mother’s Last-Minute Plea

Swarajya Staff

Apr 29, 2022, 08:36 AM | Updated 10:34 AM IST

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam
Nagaenthran Dharmalingam
  • Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who had an IQ of 69, was hanged on Wednesday after being convicted of smuggling 42 grams of heroin into Singapore. He was arrested in 2009.
  • The plan to execute him sparked widespread criticism due to concerns about his intellectual disabilities.
  • Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a Malaysian with severe learning disabilities who was convicted of drug trafficking in 2010, has been executed in Singapore's Changi prison.

    Nagaenthran, 34, had been convicted of smuggling at least 42 grams (1.48 ounces) of heroin strapped to his thigh into Singapore. The country has some of the toughest narcotics laws.

    Hailing from Perak, Nagaenthran, the second of four siblings, was sentenced to death in 2010 for trafficking heroin into Singapore in 2009.

    Nagaenthran was hanged just before dawn on Wednesday, his family sources revealed. The remains of Nagaenthran will be laid to rest at the Hindu Cemetery in Buntong here on Friday, his family added.

    A Court of Appeal dismissed a last-ditch effort by his mother to halt her son's execution. The judges said her last-minute plea was "vexatious".

    Several appeals earlier for clemency on the grounds that he had an intellectual disability were rejected.

    Another legal challenge mounted on the basis that judge Sundaresh Menon, who presided over and dismissed Nagaenthran’s appeals, was earlier the attorney-general who had prosecuted Nagaenthran and secured his conviction, also failed.

    Nagaenthran was supposed to have been executed on Nov 10, 2021, but found temporary respite on Nov 9 after the court was told that he had tested positive for Covid-19

    Nagaenthran's family thanked Malaysians and those from abroad who had been unrelenting in urging Singapore not to execute Nagaenthran.

    Nagaenthran's family said he had an IQ of 69, but the city state's courts found he knew what he was doing at the time of the offence and that no additional evidence had been presented to show any decline in his intellectual abilities.

    Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement late on Wednesday that Nagaenthran's actions were "a deliberate, purposeful and calculated decision", and reiterated court findings that "he knew what he was doing".

    Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country's prime minister and foreign minister had this week sent another letter to their Singaporean counterparts asking them to reconsider Nagaenthran's sentence. But that did not.

    The plan to execute him sparked widespread criticism due to concerns about his intellectual disabilities. The European Union and Amnesty International had urged Singapore to impose a moratorium on executions.

    "The use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is incompatible with international human rights law," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote in a statement.

    Another Malaysian drug trafficker, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, is set to be executed on Friday.

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