PETALING JAYA: A Singapore court has fixed Jan 24 to hear Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam’s bid to overturn his death sentence for drug trafficking, says Lawyers for Liberty adviser N. Surendran.
The 34-year-old Nagaenthran – who is mentally disabled with an IQ of 69 – was convicted and sentenced to death in November 2010 for importing 42.72g of diamorphine.
“Singapore’s shocking attempt to hang the mentally disabled Nagaenthiran last November was foiled amidst international condemnation and 11th-hour stay applications filed by prominent human rights lawyer M. Ravi," Surendran said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 4).
He also strongly urged the Singapore government to allow Ravi and Nagaenthran to pursue legal challenges without any hindrance.
“We further urge the judiciary to retract (certain) court directions issued towards Ravi and ensure a free and fair hearing of the pending applications and appeals," said Surendran.
“The world will be watching this case closely, and Singapore must act consistent with the rule of law, customary international law principles on fair trial and its own obligations as a state party to the UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities,” he added.
Last month, Singapore President Halimah Yacob said Nagaenthran had been accorded due process under the law.
This was in response to Malaysia’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who had written to the President of Singapore appealing for clemency in Nagaenthran's case.
Nagaenthran, who has been on Death Row for 11 years and was scheduled to be hanged on Nov 10, found temporary respite on Nov 9 after the court was informed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 when appearing for a last-ditch attempt against his sentence.
Following the dramatic turn of events, Nagaenthran was granted a further stay of execution by the Court of Appeal.
The hearing on Jan 24 is set to be heard by a bench of five judges led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.