A Malaysian man, Nagaenthran Dharmalingam (34) had been on death row for over a decade. His crime? Trafficking 44g of heroin into Singapore. Previously, his lawyers had filed appeals against his execution. They claimed he was intellectually disabled. Unfortunately, each one was dismissed.
Desperate to save her son, Nagaenthran’s mother put out a final appeal. However, the Singaporean court turned down the appeal yesterday (26th April). Nagaenthran was given one last chance to be with his family, before he was hung today (27th April).
According to his lawyers and human rights activists, Nagaenthran was found to have an IQ level of 69. It’s apparently a level recognised as an intellectual disability. But, the courts determined Nagaenthran had committed the crime deliberately. Additionally, there was no admissible evidence showing a decline in his mental condition.
In a final bid for her son’s life, Nagaenthran’s mother had pleaded for help. She had apparently been unable to find a lawyer in Singapore willing to take their case. As such, friends and activists reached out to help her file an application to appeal against her son’s conviction and death penalty. Regrettably, the court dismissed the application.
Freelance journalist Kirsten Han had been present when Nagaenthran’s final appeal was rejected. She shared that Nagaenthran had pleaded with the judges for time to spend with his family while they were still in the courtroom. “This is my final wish,” he told the court. Kirsten added that this was his family’s only chance to hold him and they could only do so via a slit in the glass screen. As they held hands, the family wept while Nagaenthran repeatedly cried, “Ma“. They also got to spend a final two hours with him in the basement holding area of the court building.
Singapore’s stern stance against drug trafficking is well-known. However, many had protested against Nagaenthran’s death penalty both vocally and by candlelight vigil. There were also some who claim that the judgement was fundamentally one-sided.
Nagaenthran’s execution was carried out this morning. His brother, Navin Kumar (22) told Malay Mail that his body would be sent back to Malaysia. A funeral will be held later in Ipoh. Our hearts go out to his family. May Nagaenthran rest in peace.