FILE PHOTO: An activist holds a placard opposing the execution of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a Malaysian whose intellect, his defense and human rights groups have argued, was found to be at levels mentally disabled for drug trafficking in Singapore, as activists file a clemency petition at the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain/File Photo
March 29, 2022
By Chen Lin
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A Singapore court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal against the execution of a Malaysian man convicted of drug smuggling, dismissing an argument by his legal team that he should be spared because he is mentally handicapped.
Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, has been on death row for more than a decade for smuggling 42.7 grams (1.5 ounces) of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the toughest drug laws in the world.
His plight drew international attention when a group of UN experts and British billionaire Richard Branson joined the Malaysian prime minister and human rights activist in urging Singapore to commute his death sentence.
Dharmalingam’s lawyer, Violet Netto, previously requested an independent psychiatric review for her client after she opposed the production of his medical records from prison, citing confidentiality.
But a request for an independent review was denied by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon on Tuesday, saying it was inappropriate not to release the medical records and there was no admissible evidence of a deterioration in his mental condition.
“The applicant has been granted due process under the law and it is not for him to challenge the outcome of that proceeding if he has not submitted anything to suggest that he has a case to consider,” said the five-member judge panel in its judgement.
Dharmalingam, who wore a purple prison uniform, appeared to show no reaction to the verdict.
His sister condemned the court’s decision.
“We cannot accept this, it is an unfair judgment for my brother. This is heartless punishment,” Sarmila Dharmalingam told Reuters.
Rights groups also called for Dharmalingam’s life to be spared.
“The Singapore government must act now to prevent a gross judicial farce and end its inhumane, shameful strategy of using the death penalty to address drug-related problems,” Amnesty International said.
Anti-death penalty group Reprieve said it believes Dharmalingam is mentally disabled and should be protected from the death penalty.
Singapore’s government says the death penalty is an important deterrent against drug trafficking and that a majority of its citizens support the death penalty.
Dharmalingam has now exhausted his legal avenues in Singapore to avoid the death penalty, and a plea for clemency from the country’s president has been denied.
Pardons for inmates on death row are rare in Singapore, and the country’s leaders had sent a letter to their Malaysian counterparts to say that Dharmalingam had been “granted a full due process under the law”.
It was initially unclear when the execution would take place.
From 2016 to 2019, 25 people were hanged in Singapore – most according to official figures for drug-related offenses.
(Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore, additional reporting by Rozanna Latiff in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Ed Davies)
https://www.oann.com/singapore-court-rejects-malaysians-appeal-in-high-profile-execution-case/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=singapore-court-rejects-malaysians-appeal-in-high-profile-execution-case A court in Singapore dismisses the Malaysian’s appeal in a high-profile execution case