All eyes on Singapore after the execution of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a mentally disabled man caught trafficking heroin. He was caught in 2009 carrying a small amount of heroin. Due to the strict laws of the country, he was sentenced to death in 2010.
The United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and British billionaire Richard Branson condemned the country. Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s family appealed to the courts to consider his case since he is mentally disabled. To no avail, the courts declined all appeals and pushed through with the execution.
Nagaenthran filed legal challenges for more than a decade, but they were denied by Singapore’s courts, and the city-president state refused clemency requests.
His sister, Sarmila Dharmalingam, told AFP that the 34-year-old was executed in the early hours of the morning. “It is unbelievable that Singapore proceeded with the execution despite international appeals to spare his life,” she said, speaking from Malaysia.
She added the family was “extremely saddened” and “in a state of shock”.
Reprieve, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that campaigns against the death penalty, said Nagaenthran was “the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice”.
“Hanging an intellectually disabled, mentally unwell man… is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws that Singapore has chosen to sign up to,” said the group’s director Maya Foa.
Nagaenthran was supposed to be hanged in November, but his execution was postponed while he filed an appeal, claiming that hanging someone with mental problems is against international law.
He was apprehended at the age of 21 while attempting to enter Singapore with a bundle of heroin weighing approximately 43 grams (one and a half ounces) — roughly three tablespoons.
Supporters claim he has an IQ of 69, which is considered a handicap, and that he was forced to perform the murder.