Yesterday (Wednesday, 27th April), Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was executed in Singapore after being sentenced to death in 2010. The Malaysian man was found guilty of trafficking 44g of heroin into the country. He was granted to see his family one last time before being hung to death in Changi prison.
Many have voiced out their opinions on Nagaenthran’s case on social media. Joining in on the conversation, British billionaire and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson published an article on Virgin.com to speak about how he was heartbroken over Singapore’s execution of Nagaenthran.
The 71-year-old, who has been a long-time campaigner against the death penalty, wrote:
“Singapore’s relentless machinery of death did what it always does. Stubbornly clinging to the letter of the law, it left no room for decency, dignity, compassion, or mercy.
Let’s be clear: Nagen was not a criminal. He was a victim – of his circumstances; of drug cartels that prey on the vulnerable; of a justice system rigged against the marginalised and the poor. Humanity has failed him.
In the hours and days to come, there will be anger, frustration and profound sadness. But, more than ever, I am convinced that the death penalty is on its way out. It’s in our hands to end it in our lifetime.”
The business magnate also shared how he was heartbroken to see photos of Panchalai (Nagaenthran’s mother) in court, as she made her last, desperate plea to spare her son’s life. Richard Branson stated in his article saying that Singapore will not be the same after this case as he thinks the people are beginning to doubt the need for the death penalty and that more are speaking up.
According to the entrepreneur, Nagaenthran’s case has raised so many questions about good governance, transparency, due process, fairness, and about Singapore’s commitment to international agreements. He also thanked several organisations including Nagaenthran’s lawyer M Ravi for their support and contribution in bringing awareness to the issue. “Let’s do away with the death penalty once and for all – in Singapore and elsewhere. We owe it to Nagen,” he said.
In a previous article he wrote back in February, the Virgin Group founder had also urged Singapore President Halimah Yacob to grant the mentally disabled Malaysian man clemency and stated that the death penalty is a serious stain on Singapore’s reputation.
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