Nearly 20,000 people have signed an online petition pleading to Singapore President Halimah Yacob for mercy over an intellectually-disabled Malaysian man on death row.
Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam was 21 when he was arrested in Singapore in 2009 and subsequently convicted for trafficking 42.72g of diamorphine, a narcotic analgesic used to treat severe pain.
Now 33, Nagaenthran reportedly suffers from ADHD and has a very low IQ of 69 and currently faces imminent execution on 10 November. His family was informed of the scheduled hanging two weeks ago.
It is alleged that Nagaenthran was also coerced by a man who assaulted him and threatened to murder his girlfriend.
A psychiatrist submitted that Nagaenthran was suffering from “an abnormality of mind at the time of his arrest”.
Human rights group Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) has also urged the Singapore government to pardon the death sentence on Malaysian Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam for drug trafficking.
In a statement, ADPAN said the Singaporean authorities should not proceed with the execution as Nagaenthran suffers from a mental disability.
“His IQ has been assessed to be 69, a level that is internationally recognised as an intellectual disability. During his trial, his defence raised evidence that he suffers from intellectual disabilities that impair his rationality and ability to assess risk.”
“The defence was dismissed despite psychiatric assessment highlighting his inability to make judgments, decision making, impulse control, and ability to assess future consequences.”
According to FMT, ADPAN claimed that Singapore had violated international laws that restrict the application of the death penalty to the “most serious crime”, which exclude drug offences, and of sentencing a mentally disabled person to death.
Olivia Seow, human rights advocate, set up the petition last Thursday. The petition states that the Singapore justice system had failed to protect people with disabilities.
“Nagaenthran is intellectually disabled, committed a non-violent crime, and was allegedly coerced by assaults and threats,” says Olivia.
“We sincerely appeal for President Halimah Yacob to uphold Singapore’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by pardoning Nagaenthran’s death sentence.”
Malaysian rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) urged the Singapore government to stop the execution as it was “shocking and sickening” that a civilised nation should resort to hanging the mentally disabled.
“Singapore has over the years ignored all pleas that Nagaenthran be spared execution,” says LFL adviser N Surendran.
“Going ahead with this hanging will only damage the reputation of the island state, and do nothing to stop the real kingpins of drug trafficking.”
Due to the proceedings, Nagaenthran’s family has to come down from Malaysia to visit him and make other preparations. He’ll also be executed on the same week that Deepavali occurs.
Thankfully, through crowdfunding efforts, they’ve managed to come down and stay in Singapore.
But the clock is still ticking in their efforts to save him for execution.
If you’d like to sign the petition, click here to help them achieve their goal.