A man with intellectual disabilities was executed in Singapore on Wednesday, his family’s lawyer said, after a long campaign for clemency failed, putting the city-state’s zero-tolerance drug laws back under scrutiny.
Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a 34-year-old Malaysian citizen, was arrested in 2009 for bringing 42.7 grams (1.5 ounces) of heroin into Singapore. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010.
Dharmalingam’s brother was told by a prison official that the execution had been completed on Wednesday, his family’s lawyer, N. Surendran, told CNN.
“His brother is waiting to collect his body and take it back to their hometown, Ipoh in Malaysia,” Surendran said.
Dharmalingam’s case drew international attention — including from the United Nations, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and British billionaire Richard Branson — who decried the court’s proceeding despite his intellectual disability.
A psychologist assessed his IQ to be 69.
His lawyer filed multiple appeals to overturn the execution, arguing that Dharmalingam should not have been sentenced to death under Singaporean law because he was incapable of understanding his actions.
But a Singapore court rejected a final appeal from Dharmalingam’s lawyer last month, saying there was “no admissible evidence showing any decline in the appellant’s mental condition after the commission of the offense.”
On Tuesday, a Singapore court turned down a legal challenge by Dharmalingam’s mother, clearing the way for the execution, according to Reuters.
At the end of the hearing, Dharmalingam and his family wept as they grasped each others’ hands through a gap in a glass screen, Reuters reported, adding that Dharmalingam’s cries of “ma” — which means “mother” — could be heard in the courtroom.
Anti-death penalty group Reprieve said Dharmalingam’s “name will go down in history as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice.”
“Hanging an intellectually disabled, mentally unwell man because he was coerced into carrying less than three tablespoons of diamorphine is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws that Singapore has chosen to sign up to,” Reprieve director Maya Foa said in a statement.
(Read more at: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/27/asia/singapore-nagaenthran-dharmalingam-execution-intl-hnk/index.html)