In a shocking development, the BBC reported that Singapore has just executed a mentally disabled man for drug crimes.
According to the British news agency, Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was put to death 12 years after he was caught entering Singapore from Malaysia with approximately three tablespoons of heroin.
Those who helped condemned man file an appeal may be prosecuted
Although Dharmalingam was found to have an IQ of only 69, government prosecutors nevertheless contended that he “clearly understood the nature of his acts.”
“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,” Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs was quoted as saying in a statement.
Dharmalingam’s execution came after a court rejected a final appeal on Tuesday, stating that he had “due process in accordance with the law.”
What’s more, the court went on to find that the defendant had “exhausted his rights of appeal and almost every other recourse under the law over some 11 years.”
In a somewhat surprising move, the BBC reported that Singapore’s attorney general’s office has announced that it may prosecute anyone who helped put together Dharmalingam’s final appeal, arguing it had been “an unjustifiable attempt to delay the execution.”
Possession of over half an ounce of heroin is punishable by death
As NPR explained, “Anyone found with over 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of heroin faces the death sentence in Singapore, although it can be reduced to life in prison.”
The BBC noted how Dharmalingam’s case had become a source of controversy, with the human rights group Reprieve tweeting that he had been the “victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice.”
BREAKING: Nagaenthran Dharmalingam has been executed.
His name will go down in history as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice.
Hanging an intellectually disabled man because he was coerced into carrying less than 3 tablespoons of diamorphine is clearly unjustifiable🧵 pic.twitter.com/j3t5YSpn1C
— Reprieve (@Reprieve) April 27, 2022
Others who spoke out included British actor Stephen Fry as well as billionaire Richard Branson, who had sought clemency from Singapore’s leader.
“President Halimah Yacob: please spare the life of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam,” Branson pleaded in a tweet last week.