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Friday, July 12, 2024
    HomeAsiaSingapore court dismisses last-minute challenge to Malaysian's execution

    Singapore court dismisses last-minute challenge to Malaysian’s execution

    By Chen Lin

    SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A Singapore court on Tuesday dismissed a last-ditch legal challenge by the mother of a Malaysian drug trafficker on death row, paving the way for his execution to be carried out on Wednesday as planned.

    Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, has been on death row for more than a decade for trafficking 44 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the world's toughest narcotics laws. His lawyers had filed multiple appeals against his execution on the grounds that he has an intellectual disability.

    After the court delivered its decision, Dharmalingam and his family reached through a gap in a glass screen to grasp each others' hands tightly as they wept. His cries of "ma" could be heard around the courtroom.

    Nagaenthran's case has attracted international attention, with a group of United Nations experts and British billionaire Richard Branson joining Malaysia's prime minister and human rights activists to urge Singapore to commute his death sentence.

    His lawyers and activists have said Nagaenthran's IQ was found to be at 69, a level recognised as an intellectual disability. However, the courts found he knew what he was doing at the time of his crime, and ruled there was no admissible evidence showing any decline in his mental condition.

    "I want my son back alive," Nagaenthran's mother Panchalai Supermaniam had said in court earlier via a translator.

    In her application, she argued that Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon should not have been involved in her son's appeals proceedings because he had been serving as the Attorney-General when Nagaenthran was convicted.

    Prosecutors at Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) said on Tuesday that the argument was baseless as Nagaenthran had not objected to Menon's involvement previously.

    The AGC also said Menon had made no decisions pertaining to Nagaenthran's case during his tenure as Attorney-General.

    Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong said the court of appeal found the last-minute application appeared to be a "calculated attempt" to diminish the finality of the court process.

    The Singapore government says the death penalty is a deterrent against drug trafficking and most of its citizens support capital punishment.

    (Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore; Writing by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)





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