KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Singapore’s highest court will decide on Tuesday the fate of a Malaysian on death row who is believed to be mentally disabled, his family and a human rights group said on Friday .
The Court of Appeal hearing was originally scheduled for November 10, a day before Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was executed by hanging for attempting to smuggle less than 43 grams (1.5 ounces) of heroine in the country. But the hearing was postponed after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in a case that gained international attention.
Her sister Sarmila Dharmalingam said she was informed by a Malaysian lawyer that the hearing will now take place on Tuesday.
If the court dismisses the appeal, Nagaenthran, 33, would again be in immediate danger of execution, which could happen very quickly, UK-based rights group Reprieve said.
His brother Navinkumar Dharmalingam said in a statement released via Reprieve that Nagaenthran’s mental state had “seriously deteriorated”.
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“I don’t think he has any idea he’s going to be executed. He doesn’t seem to understand it at all. When I visited him he talked about coming home and eating homemade food with our family. It broke my heart that he seemed to think he was coming home, ”Navinkumar said.
“He has other delusions about taking three-hour baths and sitting in a garden. He often doesn’t remember the most basic things and some of his words are completely inconsistent, ”added Navinkumar, who visited his brother several times in a Singapore prison ahead of the November 10 appeal hearing. .
“Naga faces imminent execution even though he should be protected from the death penalty due to his intellectual disability and as a victim of trafficking,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve.
“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made it clear his commitment to defend the rights of people with disabilities. Allowing this parody of justice to take place would go against those promises, ”Foa added.
The Malaysian national was sentenced to death in November 2010 under Singapore’s strict drug laws. Previous attempts to reduce his sentence to life in prison or receive a presidential pardon have failed, despite calls from the international community and rights groups.
Opponents of the death penalty claim that Nagaenthran’s 69 IQ was leaked in an earlier lower court hearing. This level is internationally recognized as an intellectual disability. But the court ruled that Nagaenthran knew what he was doing.
Legal experts – including those from the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network and Amnesty International – have called the execution of an intellectually disabled person inhumane and a violation of international law and the Singapore Constitution.
The Malaysian leader, members of the international community, representatives of the European Union and world figures such as British business tycoon Richard Branson also called for the life of Nagaenthran to be spared and used the case to lure him down. attention to the advocacy against the death penalty.
Singapore’s Home Office said in response that the country is taking a “zero tolerance stance against illegal drugs” and that the death penalty has been clearly defined at its borders.
Anyone found with more than 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of heroin faces the death penalty in Singapore, although judges can reduce it to life in prison at their discretion. The last execution in Singapore dates back to 2019.
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