Why Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was sentenced to death? Explained

Why Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was sentenced to death

Singapore executed a mentally disabled Malaysian man sentenced to death for a drug offense after a court dismissed his mother’s last-minute challenge and international pleas to spare him. Let’s see why Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was sentenced to death in detail.

 

Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam sentenced to death

Singapore executed a mentally disabled Malaysian man sentenced to death for a drug offense on Wednesday, despite a last-minute challenge from his mother and international pleas to spare him.

Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 34, had been on death row for more than a decade after being convicted of smuggling 43 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin into Singapore. The government of the city-state has stated that the use of the death penalty for drug offenses is made clear at the borders.

The execution was confirmed Wednesday by Nagaenthran’s family and social activists.

“On this score, I declare that Malaysia is far more humane,” said his sister Sarmila Dharmalingam. “This is a zero to Singapore.”

Nagaenthran’s supporters and lawyers claimed he had an IQ of 69 and was intellectually disabled, and that executing a mentally ill person was illegal under international human rights law.

Singapore’s courts ruled, based on testimony from psychiatrists, that he was not mentally disabled and understood his actions at the time of his crime.

 

Singapore court dismissed the final appeal of Nagaenthran’s mother

“Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s name will be remembered as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice,” said Maya Foa, director of the non-governmental organization Reprieve.

“Hanging an intellectually disabled, mentally ill man for carrying less than 3 tablespoons of diamorphine is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws that Singapore has selected to sign up to.”

The Singapore Court of Appeal dismissed a last-minute legal challenge filed by the mother of a mentally disabled Malaysian man seeking to halt his execution for drug trafficking.

Nagaenthran and his mother filed a motion Monday arguing that carrying out his death sentence was unconstitutional and that he may not have received a fair trial because the chief justice who presided over his appeals was the attorney general when Nagaenthran was convicted in 2010, which the filing claimed was a conflict of interest.

The motion was dismissed by the court as “frivolous.”

 

What crime did Nagaenthran commit?

was a Malaysian Indian who was convicted of trafficking 42.72 grams of heroin in April 2009 at the Woodlands Checkpoint while entering Singapore from Malaysia with a bundle of heroin strapped to his thigh.

Nagaenthran admitted to committing the crime but claimed that he was forced to do so by a mastermind who violently attacked him and threatened to kill his girlfriend. He also claimed he did it to get money to pay off his debts, but he later denied knowing anything about the contents of his bundle.

In November 2010, Nagaenthran was sentenced to death by hanging. His execution, however, was postponed due to a moratorium on all hangings in Singapore pending judicial changes to the mandatory death sentence laws, which considered and confirmed the imposition of life imprisonment with or without punishing for drug traffickers who were couriers or dealing with mental illnesses.

Despite Nagaenthran’s numerous appeals, he was deemed ineligible for resentencing because he was not significantly mentally or intellectually disabled, despite his low IQ of 69. Nagaenthran also lost his clemency appeal, and he was finally scheduled to be executed on November 10, 2021, after spending 11 years on death row.

However, due to a last-minute appeal and a COVID-19 infection, Nagaenthran’s execution was postponed for five months, until his appeal was dismissed on March 29, 2022. Nagaenthran was hanged at Changi Prison on April 27, 2022, at the age of 33.

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