EU calls on Singapore to halt drug trafficker’s execution

Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam. Photo: Olivia Seow/
Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam. Photo: Olivia Seow/

European countries are calling on Singapore to halt the execution of Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who is due to be hanged Wednesday after a decade on death row. 

The Delegation of the European Union, along with Norway and Switzerland, issued a statement last night calling on Singapore to commute the sentence of the 33-year-old to life imprisonment and impose a moratorium on all executions as a “first step towards its abolition.” Nagaenthran is due to be hanged Wednesday despite rights groups highlighting his reportedly low IQ of 69 and thousands signing a petition for a presidential pardon. 

“No compelling evidence exists to show that the death penalty serves as a more efficient deterrent to crime than imprisonment,” the delegation’s statement said. “Moreover, rehabilitation as an objective of modern criminal law is frustrated by the application of capital punishment. Furthermore, any errors – inevitable in any legal system – are irreversible.”

Nagaenthran was convicted and sentenced in 2010, a year after he was arrested with around 40 grams of heroin strapped to his thigh while entering Singapore from Malaysia. Multiple appeals of his sentence and a petition for presidential pardon were unsuccessful. 

In 2017, the high court found that he did not have an “abnormality of mind” at the time of the offense and was aware of what he was doing. The court also pointed out Nagaenthran’s inconsistent statements, including his allegation that he was being “coerced under duress” into committing the crime only to accept later on that he had committed the crime because he needed money. 

“The Court of Appeal found that Nagaenthran’s vacillation between various accounts of why he had committed the offence did not aid his case at all,” a statement from the Home Affairs Ministry addressing media queries said last week. 

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also wrote to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seeking leniency in Nagaenthran’s case, according to a weekend report.

Other stories:

20,000 plead for presidential pardon over Malaysian man on death row

The plea for presidential pardon over Malaysian man on death row, with Yeu-Gynn Yeung and Nurul Azliah


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