Regional anti-death penalty lobby accuses Singapore of violating international law with Nagaenthran’s execution

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Family and friends of Nagaenthiran Dharmalingam, who was executed for drug trafficking in Singapore, gather for funeral prayers at his family home in Ipoh April 28, 2022. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Family and friends of Nagaenthiran Dharmalingam, who was executed for drug trafficking in Singapore, gather for funeral prayers at his family home in Ipoh April 28, 2022. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Regional lobby group Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (Adpan) has today condemned the Singaporean government for the execution Malaysian Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam for drug trafficking.

The group said with the act, Singapore has defied international law and norms prohibiting the execution of a person with intellectual or psychosocial disability under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Adpan said Singapore never acknowledged Nagaenthran’s diminished capacity and low IQ of 69 by proceeding to execute him while no independent assessment of his mental condition took place.

“In addition, the execution also failed to meet the international threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ as the offence of which Nagaenthran was convicted of was a non-violent drug offence.

“Concerns raised about his recent mental health condition and his vulnerability to further deterioration in detention, particularly solitary confinement, have not been addressed by the Singapore government in any form.

“It is a great shame that until the end, there was no independent assessment of Nagaenthran’s mental condition,” the groups research coordinator Sky Siaw said in a statement here.

The group said the next Malaysian to be executed, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, who obtained a stay pending further appeals by the public prosecutor, was also not provided legal counsel and had represented himself in court.

It said with these actions Singapore’s international reputation was eroding and is deteriorating following the execution of Nagaenthran and it will only alienate Singapore from its peers globally.

It called for Singapore to abolish the death penalty and impose moratoriums on executions pending the abolishment as there are others like Roslan Bakar, Rosman Abdullah, and Pannir Selvam Pranthaman at imminent risk of being hanged.

“Contrary to the overwhelming global trend to move away from the use of the death penalty, in the last month, Singapore has proceeded with the execution of Abdul Kahar Othman and Nagenthran; Datchinamurthy’s execution is set to take place on Friday, and three other persons are at imminent risk.

“The common thread between these six individuals is that they came from vulnerable families with very limited resources, and all played relatively minor roles in relation to the drug trade.

“There is no evidence that their deaths will have any effect on the illicit drug trade in Singapore or globally; there is no proof that the death penalty has been an effective deterrent to drug-related offences,” he added.

Nagenthran was executed yesterday after being in prison since 2009 for trafficking 42g of diamorphine.

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