Sunday, July 3, 2022

Singapore authorities accused of harassing Nagaenthran’s mum ahead of last-ditch court bid

Lawyers for Liberty says Panchalai Supermaniam is being pressured to reveal the names of those who helped her prepare her application after failing to find a lawyer willing to represent her son.

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Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has hit out at the Singapore authorities, accusing them of harassing and intimidating Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s mother even as she prepares to appear in court on behalf of her son today after failing to find a lawyer willing to represent her son in a final bid to save him from the gallows.

LFL adviser N Surendran said the Attorney-General’s Office in Singapore had, in its submissions, demanded that Panchalai Supermaniam reveal the names of those who had helped her prepare her application.

“This morning, we were shocked to discover that the attorney-general’s representatives in court had stooped to intimidating, harassing and placing undue pressure on Panchalai,” he said.

“Can a mother not ask for help from kind people to help her file a case in court, to save her son from the hangman? This is intolerable injustice, cruelty and inhumanity to a suffering mother.”

Panchalai yesterday 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 is that the judge who presided over and dismissed Nagaenthran’s appeals – Sundaresh Menon – is also the attorney-general who prosecuted Nagaenthran and secured his conviction.

LFL, which yesterday described this as “a blatant denial of fair trial”, said the Singapore attorney-general, government and judiciary must cease all attempts to intimdate or threaten Panchalai ahead of the hearing this afternoon.

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.

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