Singapore hangs 64-year-old death row inmate despite desperate final appeal

Nazeri Bin Lajim in his last photo taken days before his execution today. Photo: Transformative Justice Collective/Facebook
Nazeri Bin Lajim in his last photo taken days before his execution today. Photo: Transformative Justice Collective/Facebook

Nazeri Bin Lajim – a 64-year-old father, brother and lifelong Singaporean – is the latest prisoner to be executed under the city-state’s strict death penalty regime.

Drugs destroyed her brother’s life. On Friday, Singapore will hang him.

Nazeri, who was convicted of trafficking heroin more than a decade ago, was hanged at dawn this morning after his final appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

He had filed his own application for appeal, written soon after he was given one week’s notice that he would be hanged today. According to Kirsten Han, a journalist and anti-death penalty activist, Nazeri pleaded with judges over Zoom yesterday to grant him a stay of execution so that he could have time to appoint new legal counsel and spend a little more time with his family of 10 siblings, not all of whom had had a chance to visit him yet. 

But the court dismissed his appeal, calling it an “abuse of process.” 

“Please exercise sympathy,” Han quoted Nazeri, who communicated through an interpreter, saying to the judges. “I’m an elderly person, I know I will die.”

Justice Andrew Phang replied: “I’m afraid there is nothing we can do. The decision of the court is final.” 

The hearing was then adjourned. 

Nazeri was arrested in 2012 for trafficking at least 35.41 grams of heroin, more than twice the 15-gram threshold for the death sentence. He is among at least 60 inmates who are awaiting their death sentence, most of whom are men convicted of drug offenses. 

On Monday, Coconuts interviewed his distraught sister, Nazira, who spoke about Nazeri’s troubled childhood and history of drug addiction, and how his sentence has impacted their family. 

Nazira had fought for her brother’s life by writing to President Halimah Yaccob, asking for clemency several times, but only received a brief, impersonal response stating that the government’s position “remained unchanged”.

Han said yesterday that Nazira and Nazeri’s ex-wife visited him for the final time last night. 

A funeral procession was held this morning at Masjid Assyakirin in Taman Jurong before his body was taken to the Muslim cemetery in Choa Chu Kang.

Nazeri was all in smiles in his final photos taken days before his execution.

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Drugs destroyed her brother’s life. On Friday, Singapore will hang him.

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