Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Singapore court throws out Nagaenthran’s appeal against death sentence

His lawyer M Ravi says Nagaenthran could be hanged within the next few days.

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The Singapore Court of Appeal today dismissed Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s appeal against his death sentence, calling it an abuse of the court process.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon also said that a challenge to previous decisions in Nagaenthran’s case and a bid to get proceedings delayed for a psychiatric assessment were both rejected, AFP reported.

The attempt to get a further assessment amounted to a “blatant and egregious abuse of the court process” aimed at delaying the execution, Sundaresh said.

Nagaenthran’s lawyer M Ravi said the court had ruled that international law does not apply in his case.

“Nagaenthran, who is mentally disabled, is due to be hanged, possibly in the next few days,” he added in a post on Facebook.

Nagaenthran, now 34, was arrested in 2009 for trafficking a small amount of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

He was handed a then mandatory death sentence the following year.

Supporters say Nagaenthran has an IQ of 69 – a level recognised as a disability – and was coerced into committing the crime.

He was scheduled to be hanged in November last year but the verdict sparked criticism due to concerns he has intellectual disabilities, with the European Union and British billionaire Richard Branson among those condemning the decision.

Singapore activist Kirsten Han, an active critic of the city-state’s use of the death penalty, said the court had ruled that there was no factual basis to allow the criminal motion for Nagaenthran to be assessed by an independent panel of psychiatrists, and that the affidavits of his brother and former lawyer were dimissed as they could not be said to be “disinterested parties”.

“They also said that the affidavits from his lawyer and brother were contradicted by testimony from the prison officer in charge of Nagaenthran,” she said on Twitter.

As the prison officer had no interest in seeing Nagaenthran executed, she said, the court had said there was no reason to disbelieve him.

“The court also remarked that the Misuse of Drugs Act is ‘unambiguous’ with regard to stipulating the mandatory death penalty (unless certain conditions are met),” she said.

“If lawyers feel strongly about the death penalty, ‘the proper recourse is to seek legislative change’.”

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