Rights Groups Urge Singapore Not to Execute Man With Mental Disability

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The man, a Malaysian with an I.Q. of 69, was caught trying to smuggle an ounce and a fractional of heroin successful 2009. Some are calling his planned hanging a quality rights violation.

People successful  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, connected  Wednesday protesting Singapore’s planned execution adjacent  week of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam.
Credit...Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Richard C. Paddock

Nov. 5, 2021, 8:20 a.m. ET

Human rights groups are urging Singapore to halt an execution adjacent week of a Malaysian antheral convicted of smuggling heroin into the city-state, arguing that helium should beryllium exempt nether planetary instrumentality due to the fact that helium has an intelligence disability.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 33, was caught successful 2009 with astir 1.5 ounces of heroin strapped to his thigh arsenic helium entered Singapore from Malaysia. He is scheduled to beryllium executed by hanging connected Wednesday.

The courts person rejected appeals from his lawyers, who reason that his decease condemnation should beryllium commuted due to the fact that helium has an I.Q. of 69 and is truthful not afloat susceptible of knowing his actions. Mr. Nagaenthran has been connected decease enactment for much than a decade.

The impending execution has prompted protests successful Malaysia and an online petition signed by much than 52,000 radical imploring Singapore’s president, Halimah Yacob, to pardon Mr. Nagaenthran.

“Nagaenthran’s decease condemnation indicates that the Singapore judicial strategy is failing to support the information and payment of those with disabilities,” the petition says. “Specifically, it demonstrates the systemic nonaccomplishment of Singapore’s transgression justness strategy to admit the interaction of intelligence disabilities connected a person’s culpability and capableness to perpetrate a transgression offense.”

The Singaporean authorities defended its judicial process, saying that Mr. Nagaenthran had received a just proceedings and that the courts had considered intelligence disablement arsenic a defence but concluded that his “mental work for his discourtesy was not substantially impaired.”

Singapore, with a colonisation of astir six million, is an land federation astatine the confederate extremity of the Malay Peninsula and is the wealthiest state per capita successful Southeast Asia.

It has agelong been known for its strict ineligible code, including caning for offenses similar vandalism. Capital punishment is utilized for a scope of crimes, including smuggling comparatively tiny amounts of amerciable drugs. Singapore past carried retired executions successful 2019, hanging 4 people.


Credit...Courtesy of Sarmila Dharmalingam, via Associated Press

Mr. Nagaenthran was arrested astatine a borderline checkpoint erstwhile helium tried to participate Singapore and the authorities discovered the heroin. The Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs said it was capable to proviso 510 users for a week.

During his 2010 trial, helium claimed helium was coerced into carrying the drugs, but helium aboriginal changed his account, saying helium had attempted to smuggle the heroin due to the fact that helium needed money. The tribunal concluded that his communicative of duress was fabricated and sentenced him to death.

In 2015, helium appealed to person his condemnation commuted to beingness successful prison. His lawyers argued that his I.Q. of 69, which is conscionable beneath the internationally recognized threshold of 70 for determining whether idiosyncratic has an intelligence disability, made him incapable of afloat knowing his actions. They besides argued that helium suffered from attraction shortage hyperactivity upset and a drinking disorder, which affected his judgement and impulse control.

The High Court rejected this entreaty successful 2017, concluding that helium understood what helium was doing and had the quality to archer close from wrong. The ruling was subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal.

“The Court of Appeal recovered that this was the moving of a transgression mind, weighing the risks and countervailing benefits associated with the transgression behaviour successful question, and that Nagaenthran took a calculated hazard which, contrary to his expectations, materialized,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said successful a statement. “It was a deliberate, purposeful and calculated determination connected Nagaenthran’s portion to instrumentality the chance.”

Last month, his household successful Malaysia was notified that his execution had been scheduled for Nov. 10.


Credit...Roslan Rahman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Death punishment opponents gathered this week successful Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, extracurricular Singapore’s High Commission to protestation the planned execution and extracurricular Parliament House to impulse the Malaysian authorities to intercede.

Lawyers for Liberty, a Malaysian rights group, said Singapore was defying planetary instrumentality and the United Nations General Assembly, which has called connected subordinate countries not to execute radical with intelligence disabilities.

“That Singapore is determined present to spell connected with this execution is shocking and sickening,” said N. Surendran, an advisor astatine Lawyers for Liberty. “No civilized federation should edifice to hanging the mentally disabled.”

Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, besides urged Singapore to spare Mr. Nagaenthran.

“There is inactive clip for Singapore to alteration people and halt this unlawful execution from taking place,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher. “Taking people’s lives is simply a cruel enactment successful itself but to bent a idiosyncratic convicted simply of carrying drugs, amid chilling grounds that helium mightiness not adjacent afloat recognize what is happening to him, is despicable.”

The Divisions of Social Justice of the American Psychiatric Association called the planned execution “a flagrant breach” of the United Nations Convention connected the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which prohibits imposing the decease punishment connected radical whose intelligence and intelligence disabilities whitethorn impede them from receiving a just trial.

“Nagaenthran is diagnosed by a qualified Singaporean psychiatrist arsenic having intelligence wellness issues that springiness emergence to mediocre impulse control, attraction issues,” and different problems, the enactment said. “As a result, helium does not conscionable the threshold for culpability.”

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