Singapore’s Court of Appeal has dismissed the criminal motion brought by Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s mother in a last-ditch attempt to save her son from the gallows.
This means that Nagaenthran will be executed as scheduled tomorrow morning.
Lawyer N Surendran said the appeal was dismissed in “appalling circumstances”.
“His mother’s pleas to be allowed to appoint a lawyer were ignored by the court,” he said on Twitter.
“The verdict was given without hearing from Nagaenthran’s side at all – utter and barbaric disregard for the rule of law. The Nazis did this, too.”
Prominent rights lawyer M Ravi meanwhile said on Facebook that it was a “black day” for Singapore.
He also voiced regret that Singapore lawyers had been “cowed into fear of representing Nagaenthran”, adding that the Singapore attorney-general had filed submissions asking for S$40,000 in costs from himself and fellow lawyer Violet Netto who had defended Nagaenthran throughout his legal battle.
“I just received the submissions,” he said, adding that the costs were “to punish us personally”.
Panchalai Supermaniam had filed a criminal motion in the city-state’s Court of Appeal, to challenge the legality of previous judgments on the grounds of conflict of interest.
The basis of the challenge was that the judge who presided over and dismissed Nagaenthran’s appeals – Sundaresh Menon – was also the attorney-general who prosecuted Nagaenthran and secured his conviction.
She appeared in court today to represent her son as she was unable to find a lawyer willing to do so.
“I want my son back alive,” she said through a translator.
Nagaenthran is scheduled to be executed tomorrow after losing multiple attempts to halt the death sentence handed down to him in 2010 for trafficking a small amount of heroin into Singapore.
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.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob were among Malaysian government leaders who had also written to Singapore authorities asking for leniency on behalf of Nagaenthran.
Nagaenthran’s latest petition for clemency was rejected on March 31, two days after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against his death sentence.
Today’s hearing was held before judges Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash and Belinda Ang.
Prosecutors at Attorney-General’s Chambers said the conflict of interest argument was baseless as Nagaenthran had not previously objected to Menon’s involvement.
They also said Menon had made no decisions pertaining to Nagaenthran’s case during his tenure as attorney-general.
Phang meanwhile said the last-minute application appeared to be a “calculated attempt” to diminish the finality of the court process.
After Panchalai’s application was dismissed, Nagaenthran was allowed to hold hands with his seven family members who were present at the courtroom, Bernama reported.