WFY Today

No respite for Indian-origin disabled convict.

On Wednesday, Singapore declared that an Indian-origin prisoner accused of drug trafficking would be handed to death next week, despite the man had been suffering from intellectual disabilities. Nagaenthra Dharmalingam, the 34-year-old Malaysian-Indian citizen, was arrested in April 2009 and charged with drug trafficking for allegedly carrying heroin into the city-state, which has one of the most Draconian anti-drug laws. He was convicted and sentenced to death a year later.

The trial of Nagaenthran had drawn global attention and sparked a local campaign for the transformation of Singapore’s criminal justice system that gives death for carrying 15 grams of drugs. The United Nations, the European Union, and Malaysia have criticized the trial that has put Singapore’s zero-tolerance for drugs under scrutiny. On Wednesday, his sister received a call from the prison informing her that the state plans to hang her brother on April 27, said a close source.

Nagaenthra’s lawyer had submitted medical reports confirming that he has intellectual disabilities. The court has rejected the appeal to cancel the death penalty over his mental condition. “Counsel may well have passionate views that run counter to the imposition of the death penalty. At a societal level, the proper recourse for them, and indeed for anyone similarly situated, is to seek legislative change if they are minded to do so,” the court said.

Earlier, Singapore hanged drug convict Abdul Kahar bin Othman, in the first execution in two years. The transformative Justice Collective, which fights against the death penalty, says more than 50 men are on death row in Singapore.

Vinod Nair

V VInod Nair. Film Critic, Writer, Designer, Blogger, photographer Former Visualiser with Indian Express Newspapers Ltd, former Special Info-Graphic Designer with The Times of India. Contributor, film critic The TImes of India. Freelance journalist.

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