Singapore condemns a Malaysian on drug charges after rejecting a plea based on mental impairment.

Singapore condemns a Malaysian on drug charges after rejecting a plea based on mental impairment.

Singapore condemns a Malaysian on drug charges after rejecting a plea based on mental impairment.
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A Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking was executed in Singapore on Wednesday, despite his family’s appeals for clemency on the grounds that he had an intellectual handicap.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, had been on death row for more than a decade for smuggling 44 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin into Singapore, which has some of the strictest narcotics laws in the world. His attorneys had filed numerous petitions against his execution, claiming that he was intellectually impaired. His brother Navin Kumar, 22, confirmed the execution over the phone and said the body would be returned to Malaysia for a funeral in the town of Ipoh.

On Tuesday, a Singapore court rejected Nagaenthran’s mother’s legal challenge, paving the path for the execution by hanging. Dharmalingam and his family wept as they reached through a breach in a glass screen to tightly grip each other’s hands at the end of Tuesday’s hearing. His shouts of “mom” reverberated throughout the courtroom. On Monday, over 300 people attended a candlelight vigil in a Singapore park to oppose the planned hanging.

Nagaenthran’s case has sparked international interest, with a delegation of UN experts and British billionaire Richard Branson joining Malaysia’s prime minister and human rights advocates in urging Singapore to commute his death sentence.

Nagaenthran’s IQ was assessed to be 69, a threshold recognized as intellectual impairment, according to his lawyers and activists. However, the courts found that he was aware of what he was doing at the time of his crime and that there was no acceptable proof of any decline in his mental health.

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The Singapore government claims that the death penalty deters drug trafficking, and the majority of its residents favor it.

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