The sister of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam has urged Singapore authorities to show mercy towards her brother as a new date for his bid to halt his pending execution is set in the city-state.
According to UK-based legal group Reprieve, Nagaenthran’s appeal has been scheduled for March 1.
“Nagaenthran’s execution was only stayed pending the appeal, meaning he is once again at risk of imminent execution,” Reprieve said.
Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009 for carrying 43g of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the world’s toughest anti-drugs laws.
A diagnosis of his mental capability found among other that he has an IQ of 69 – below the threshold of 70 for declaring a person as intellectually disabled.
He was nonetheless sentenced to death the following year and was due to be hanged on Nov 10, 2021 after losing several appeals, despite supporters’ claims that his intellectual disability means he is incapable of making rational decisions.
He was granted a stay of execution following a diagnosis of Covid-19 just before a last-ditch attempt to stop his sentence on Nov 9.
Following his recovery, the hearing to set aside his death sentence was scheduled for Jan 24, but this was again postponed.
His sister, Sarmila Dharmalingam, said while Nagaenthran was one of four men diagnosed with an intellectual disability or mental impairment facing execution in Singapore for drug trafficking, there was “not a single drug lord” on death row.
“Targeting drug mules while the powerful men that exploit them go free highlights that Singapore’s use of the death penalty is both cruel and unjust,” she said.
“Killing Nagaenthran will not do anything to tackle drug trafficking, of which he himself is a victim.”
Reprieve director Maya Foa meanwhile said that the group was “deeply concerned” over the rushed hearings and decisions in Nagaenthran’s case which she described as a violation of his right to a fair trial.
“Singapore’s achievements in creating a more equal society for persons with disabilities are completely undermined by the planned resumption of executions of drug mules who have mental impairments and intellectual disabilities,” she said in a statement.
“We urge Singapore to exercise mercy, halt Nagaenthran’s execution and commute his death sentence.”