Responding to the news that Singapore authorities have set the execution dates of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam and another Malaysian man – Datchinamurthy Kataiah – for next week, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Erwin van der Borght said:
“The planned execution of two Malaysian men in Singapore next week, both convicted of drug-related offences, is unconscionable. But it is not too late for the authorities to grant both men clemency and cease the shameful series of unlawful executions in Singapore, following the hanging of Abdul Kahar bin Othman last month.
“Nagaenthran is set to be hanged despite multiple experts finding he had an intellectual disability which may have impacted his right to a fair trial. There are also concerns about his present mental health state, as his cognitive function appears to have been severely impaired after years in detention.
“Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and his cabinet must seize this last chance to spare Nagaenthran’s life. The government must also halt the execution of Datchinamurthy Kataiah, who is due to be hanged two days later despite the fact he still has a legal challenge pending in court in May.
“We urge the authorities to establish an official moratorium on all executions and revise the scope of the death penalty for drug-related offences as first moves towards its full abolition. The death penalty will never solve problems associated with drugs in Singapore.”
Malaysian national Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s execution has been set for 27 April. His second petition for clemency was rejected on 31 March, as communicated by letter to his family. On 29 March, a Singapore court had upheld his death sentence, despite medical experts finding that he had an intellectual disability.
His appeal was one of his last opportunities for him to be spared execution. In the ruling, the court rejected arguments about the decline of his mental state, and they have similarly dismissed challenges based on his intellectual ability.
International human rights law and standards prohibit the imposition of the death penalty for drug-related offences and as the mandatory punishment for any offences.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits the execution of the death penalty on persons whose mental and intellectual disabilities may have had their effective defence impeded.
Another Malaysian man, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, is also set to be executed on 29 April after he was sentenced to mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences, despite a legal challenge he has pending at a Singapore court, for which there is a hearing in May. International safeguards guaranteeing protections of the rights of those facing the death penalty state that executions may not be carried out pending any appeal or other recourse procedure.
Abdul Kahar bin Othman was executed on 30 March 2021 after being sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences – the first known execution in Singapore since November 2019.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally, in all cases and under any circumstances. More than two-thirds of countries all over the world have abolished the punishment in law or practice.