Disabled Malaysian Man Executed in Singapore Despite Protests and Condemnation

Singapore executed a mentally challenged Malaysian man who was sentenced to death for drug offenses on Wednesday, despite international pleas to save him.

Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, aged 34, was sentenced to death over a decade ago after being found guilty of smuggling 43 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin into Singapore.

Dharmalingam’s supporters and lawyers claimed he was intellectually challenged and had an IQ of 69, and that the execution of a mentally ill person was illegal by international human rights legislation.

Two days prior to his execution, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the Commissioner (OHCHR) released a statement that called on Singapore to halt Dharmalingam’s execution, “We call upon Singapore to review its long-standing position on the death penalty in light of increasing evidence showing its ineffectiveness as a deterrent and to consider implementing a moratorium on all death sentences pending such review.”

However, Singapore’s courts determined, based on testimony from psychiatrists, that Dharmalingam was not mentally ill and that he was aware of his actions at the time of his crime.

After it was confirmed by social activists and Dharmalingam’s sister that Dharmalingam’s execution pulled through, the Delegation of the European Union to Singapore released a statement that condemned Singapore’s decision, “We call on Singapore to adopt a moratorium on all executions and to join the worldwide trend to abolish the capital punishment.”

Dharmalingam’s remains will be transported to his homeland in Malaysia’s northern state of Perak, where burial arrangements were already put in place.


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