Executed man ‘knew what he was doing’: Singapore drug force

Nagaenthran “Nagen” Dharmalingam just before his execution. Photo: Transformative Justice Collective/Facebook
Nagaenthran “Nagen” Dharmalingam just before his execution. Photo: Transformative Justice Collective/Facebook

Singapore’s drug force has also come forward to dispute the circumstances of an executed man’s mental capacity as tensions run high following his execution.

The Central Narcotics Bureau last night said that Nagaenthran “Nagen” Dharmalingam, a Malaysian drug offender who was hanged yesterday despite several appeals, was consciously aware when he trafficked heroin into Singapore and did not suffer from an intellectual disability.

“There has been much misinformation that has been put out in relation to Nagaenthran, in particular on his mental state,” it wrote.

The bureau said the court found that a psychiatrist confirmed that Nagen, whose IQ was believed to be 69, had no mental disability. He “knew what he was doing” and was even “capable of manipulation and evasion” like lying to officers that he worked in security while trying to cross the Woodlands Checkpoint in 2009.

Nagen was convicted and sentenced to death in November 2010. All seven applications, not including appeals, made for over a decade were dismissed. 

“Nagaenthran considered the risks, balanced it against the reward he had hoped he would get, and decided to take the risk,” the bureau wrote.

According to the court, M Ravi, Nagen’s representative and human rights lawyer, argued last year that Nagen’s mental age was below 18 years but provided no medical evidence.

But activists, including some in Kuala Lumpur, continued to fight for him by holding public protests and vigils.

Reform group Transformative Justice Collective last month said two applications to conduct psychiatric and fitness assessments “on the basis of recent mental deterioration” were dismissed during his final judgment.

They said Nagen’s representative at the time argued that “executing a person with disabilities is a violation of Singapore’s treaty obligations under the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

An array of high-profile figures and even the United Nations opposed his execution.

Many are still mourning the death of Nagen and have shifted attention to another Malaysian, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, who is set to be hanged tomorrow.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers yesterday refuted claims that Nagen’s process was unfair and denied that there were conflicts of interest among those presiding.

The bureau also cited similar cases in the United States where two were executed last October despite arguments about their intellectual capacities, which were in the same range as Nagen. 

Other stories you should check out:
Singapore AGC denies handling executed Malaysian unfairly
Singapore executes ‘low IQ’ prisoner despite desperate appeals

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