Virgin founder Richard Branson urges Singapore to call off execution of Malaysian

·2-min read
The Virgin Group founder said granting a reprieve to Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who has an IQ level of 69, would be the just and fair thing to do. — Reuters pic
The Virgin Group founder said granting a reprieve to Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who has an IQ level of 69, would be the just and fair thing to do. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has urged Singapore president Halimah Yacob to pardon Malaysian death row inmate, Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam.

In a statement on his personal blog today, the Virgin Group founder said granting a reprieve to Nagaenthran, who has an IQ level of 69, would be the just and fair thing to do.

Branson, who has often spoken out against capital punishment, also said that the case exposed the fatal flaws of the death penalty.

“I join many others concerned about this tragic case in calling on Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob to use her pardon powers and spare Nagaenthran’s life. It would be the just and fair thing to do.

“Coerced and threatened by drug traffickers exploiting his poverty, Nagaenthran was just 19 when he was arrested in 2019. His ordeal exposes the fatal flaws of the death penalty on so many levels,” he said.

Earlier today, national news agency Bernama reported that the Singapore High Court had granted a stay of execution to the Malaysian who is to be executed on Wednesday for a drug trafficking conviction.

The decision was posted on Facebook by M. Ravi, the lawyer to the 33-year-old Nagaenthran.

The constitutional challenge against his execution was heard via Zoom today, two days before his November 10 execution date.

However, Singapore’s court registry is set to hear Nagaenthran’s appeal against his death sentence for a drug trafficking conviction tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, at the same time, the Court of Appeal will hear a new application by Nagaenthran’s Singaporean lawyers for a psychiatric assessment of their client.

If both applications are dismissed, Nagaenthran’s execution will be carried out on Wednesday as originally planned.

Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009 for bringing 42.7g (1.5 ounces) of heroin into Singapore.

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