Lawyers for Liberty refers to the imminent execution of Malaysian citizen Nagaenthran a/l K Dharmalingam who is on death row in Singapore’s notorious Changi Prison.
Nagaenthran was convicted in 2011 of illegally importing 42.72g of diamorphine and sentenced to death under the draconian Misuse of Drugs Act.
On the morning of 28 October 2021, Nagaenthran’s mother, who is from Ipoh, received a letter dated 26 October from the Singapore Prison Service informing her that her son would be executed on 10 November.
Nagaenthran is no ordinary death row prisoner; he suffers from mental disability, with an IQ of 69. His condition is diagnosed and certified by a qualified Singapore-based psychiatrist.
Despite this, Singapore has over the years ignored all pleas that Nagaenthran be spared execution.
That Singapore is determined now to go on with this execution is shocking and sickening. No civilised nation should resort to hanging the mentally disabled.
Singapore is consequently in flagrant breach of the prohibition under customary international law against the execution of persons with any form of mental impairment; as well as in defiance of the UN General Assembly, which called on member states not to execute “persons with mental or intellectual impairment”.
It is also egregious that Singapore plans to proceed with this execution despite having signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
We strongly urge the Singapore government to halt the looming execution of mentally disabled Nagaenthran, consistent with international law and the law of humanity.
We also urge the Malaysian government to make the necessary representations to the Singapore authorities, to save Nagaenthran from the gallows. It is a serious transgression of international law, which even entitles Malaysia to lodge a complaint with the International Court of Justice.
We hope good sense will prevail, and Singapore will step back from this scheduled execution of a mentally disabled person; going ahead with this hanging will only damage the reputation of the island state and do nothing to stop the real kingpins of drug trafficking.
N Surendran is an adviser for Lawyers for Liberty