Singapore Executes Malaysian Man For Smuggling 40 Grams of Heroin; Rejects Mental Health Grounds

Singapore has executed a Malaysian man for carrying 43 grams of heroin into the country. 'Intellectually disabled' Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, was executed on Wednesday after a court on Tuesday dismissed his mother's appeal.

Dharmalingam was on death row for more than 10 years in Singapore, which has strict laws against drugs. Police had caught him with three tablespoons of heroin in 2009 when he was trying to enter Singapore from Malaysia.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam
Nagaenthran Dharmalingam Twitter

Why Singapore Did Not Accept Dharmalingam Was Intellectually Disable

Dharmalingam, 34, had initially told the Singaporean court that he was forced to bring heroin into the country but later he admitted that he did it voluntarily to gain more money.

The court termed his previous comments fabricated and awarded a death sentence.

His death penalty had been controversial as a medical expert had examined that Dharmalingam had an IQ of 69, a poor level that suggests intellectual disability.

But the court didn't accept that the person was mentally ill rather it stated that Dharmalingam had a sense to judge right or wrong for him.

Last year, Dharmalingam's presidential clemency was also rejected.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs in a previous statement said that the Court of Appeal found that this was the working of a criminal mind, weighing the risks and countervailing benefits associated with the criminal conduct in question, according to BBC. Singapore will return his body to Malaysia and a funeral will be held in his hometown Ipoh.

After Dharmalingam's execution, a debate has begun on social media with many activists criticizing Singapore's stern laws related to drugs and some hitting out at death sentences by the governments worldwide.

"Nagaenthran Dharmalingam's family has confirmed that he was executed this morning. We are unspeakably heartbroken at this incredible cruelty. May he rest in peace. May the fight against the death penalty continue in his memory. Life is precious. #AbolishTheDeathPenalty," said Amnesty International Malaysia.

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This article was first published on April 27, 2022