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Singapore will decide on Tuesday to execute a disabled Malaysian





DOJE – This undated photo provided by Sarmila Dharmalingam shows her younger brother Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam in Ipoh, Malaysia. The Singapore High Court will decide on Tuesday the fate of a Malaysian man sentenced to death who is believed to be mentally disabled, his family and a rights group said on Friday, November 26, 2021. ( Sarmila Dharmalingam via AP, File)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Singapore’s Supreme Court will rule on Tuesday on the fate of a Malaysian man sentenced to death who is believed to be mentally disabled, his family and a group of rights.

The Court of Appeals hearing was originally scheduled for November 10, a day before Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was hanged for trying to smuggle less than 43 grams (1.5 ounces) of heroin into the country. But the hearing was postponed after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in a case that has attracted international attention.

His sister Sarmila Dharmalingam said she was informed by a Malaysian lawyer that the hearing would now take place on Tuesday.

If the court rejects the appeal, Nagaenthran, 33, would again be in immediate danger of execution, which could happen very soon, said the UK-based rights group Reprieve.

His brother Navinkumar Dharmalingam said in a statement issued through the Reprieve that Nagaenthran’s mental state has deteriorated severely.

I do not think he has any idea that he will be executed. He does not seem to understand at all. When I visited him, he talked about coming home and eating home-cooked food with our family. It broke my heart that he seemed to think he would return home, Navinkumar said.

He has other delusions of taking three-hour baths and sitting in a garden. He often can not remember the most basic things and some of what he says are completely incoherent, added Navinkumar, who visited his brother several times in a Singapore jail before the Nov. 10 appeals hearing.

Naga is in danger of imminent execution although he should be protected from the death penalty because of his intellectual disability and as a victim of trafficking, said Reprieve director Maya Foa.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made clear his commitment to protecting the rights of people with disabilities. “Allowing this transvestite of justice would be in the face of these promises,” Foa added.

The Malaysian national was sentenced to death in November 2010 under strict anti-drug laws in Singapore. Previous attempts to reduce his sentence to life in prison or obtain a presidential pardon failed, despite pleas from the international community and rights groups.

Opponents of the death penalty say Nagaenthrans IQ of 69 was discovered during a previous lower court hearing. This level is internationally recognized as intellectual disability. But the court ruled that Nagaenthran knew what he was doing.

Legal experts, including the Asia Network Against the Death Penalty and Amnesty International, have called the execution of a man with intellectual disabilities inhumane and a violation of international law and the Singapore Constitution.

The Malaysian leader, members of the international community, representatives of the European Union and global figures such as British business tycoon Richard Branson have also called for Nagaenthrans to be spared life and used the opportunity to draw attention to advocacy against the death penalty.

The Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs said in response that the country maintains a zero tolerance stance against illegal drugs and that the death penalty has been made clear within its borders.

Anyone found with more than 15 grams of heroin faces the death penalty in Singapore, though judges may reduce this to life imprisonment at their discretion. The last execution in Singapore was in 2019.




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