Sunday, July 3, 2022

Malaysian death row inmate gets stay of execution after appearing in court without lawyers

Datchinamurthy Kataiah has been granted a stay of execution pending the hearing of his legal challenge on May 20.

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Malaysian Datchinamurthy Kataiah, who represented himself at the Singapore High Court this morning in his bid to halt his appointment with the gallows, has been granted a stay of execution.

This means that his execution initially scheduled to take place tomorrow has been suspended, lawyer N Surendran said in a Twitter post.

Prominent rights lawyer M Ravi meanwhile said the stay of execution was granted pending the outcome of the hearing of Datchinamurthy’s legal challenge on May 20.

“There won’t be an execution tomorrow morning,” he said on Facebook.

“This underscores the importance of exhausting the legal process and trying until the end and not giving up.”

Datchinamurthy was convicted of trafficking 45g of diamorphine into the city-state, which has attracted international criticism over claims that it fails to discriminate between drug couriers from poor families and the drug barons who hire them.

Datchinamurthy’s case had sparked comparison with that of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, another death row inmate who was executed early yesterday morning.

Nagaenthran’s mother Panchalai Supermaniam had appeared in court during her final attempt to save her son, as she could not find a lawyer willing to represent him.

Nagaenthran’s execution had caused international outrage due to his mental disability. He had an IQ of 69, a level recognised as a disability, and was reportedly coerced into trafficking a small amount of heroin into the island republic.

The Singapore Attorney-General’s Chambers later said it would not hesitate to cite critics who repeated what it described as “false allegations” contained in Panchalai’s affidavit for contempt.

“The AGC takes a serious view of any act that may constitute contempt, and will not hesitate to take appropriate action to protect the administration of justice,” it said.

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