Nagaenthran Dharmalingam: Intellectually disabled man executed in Singapore’s Changi Prison


A mentally disabled man has been executed in Singapore despite appeals for mercy from several high-profile celebrities. 

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, was arrested over a decade ago for trafficking about three tablespoons of heroin into Singapore in 2009. 

The city-state, which has some of the toughest drug laws in the world, handed Nagaenthran a mandatory death sentence for his crime. 

The 34-year-old prisoner was hanged at Singapore’s Changi Prison at 6am (8am AEST) on Wednesday. 

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, (pictured) was arrested over a decade ago for trafficking about three tablespoons of heroin into Singapore in 2009

The 34-year-old prisoner was scheduled to be hanged at Singapore's Changi Prison (pictured in 2005) at 6am (8am AEST) on Wednesday

The 34-year-old prisoner was scheduled to be hanged at Singapore’s Changi Prison (pictured in 2005) at 6am (8am AEST) on Wednesday

His case has attracted international attention with supporters’ petitioning on the basis his intellectual disability means he struggles to make rational decisions. 

They say Nagaenthran has an IQ of 69 – a level recognised as a disability.  

Internationally-revered celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Richard Branson have also spoken out against the ‘devastating’ execution. 

‘Executing Nagen would be a tragic injustice and a dark stain on Singapore’s international reputation,’ the Virgin founder told the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Just hours before his execution the court gave Nagaenthran permission to hold the hands of his loved ones inside Singapore’s Court of Appeal. 

He was also granted two hours to spend time with family members in the basement of the court complex. 

His mother Panchalai Supermaniam (pictured) launched an unsuccessful last-minute appeal against the execution, the last of a series of appeals rejected by the court

His mother Panchalai Supermaniam (pictured) launched an unsuccessful last-minute appeal against the execution, the last of a series of appeals rejected by the court

His case has attracted international attention with supporters' petitioning on the basis his intellectual disability means he struggles to make rational decisions

His case has attracted international attention with supporters’ petitioning on the basis his intellectual disability means he struggles to make rational decisions

Nagaenthran (pictured, second left with his sister and cousins) was given permission by the court to hold the hands of his loved ones hours before his execution

Nagaenthran (pictured, second left with his sister and cousins) was given permission by the court to hold the hands of his loved ones hours before his execution

‘I’d like to make a last-minute request to spend some time with my family members,’ the Malaysian man asked the judges using a translator. 

‘I’m placing this request so I can hold my family members’ hands.’

His mother Panchalai Supermaniam launched an unsuccessful last-minute appeal against the execution, the last of a series of appeals rejected by the court. 

She filed a joint application with her son to have the judgements rendered null and void due to Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon being the country’s attorney-general when Nagaenthran was sentenced. 

The Chief Justice had ruled on the judgements since 2016. 

A panel of three judges on Tuesday rejected the suggestion Nagaenthran didn't receive a fair trial and slammed the notion as 'an abuse of the court's process' (pictured, Nagaenthran's mother weeps outside the court after her last-ditch challenge was dismissed)

A panel of three judges on Tuesday rejected the suggestion Nagaenthran didn’t receive a fair trial and slammed the notion as ‘an abuse of the court’s process’ (pictured, Nagaenthran’s mother weeps outside the court after her last-ditch challenge was dismissed)

A panel of three judges rejected the suggestion Nagaenthran didn’t receive a fair trial and slammed the notion as ‘an abuse of the court’s process’. 

Justice Andrew Phang said the prisoner’s legal team had been given multiple opportunities to object to Mr Menon presiding over the case. 

He described the last-minute bid as ‘undermining the finality of the court process’ and said Nagaenthran had exhausted his rights of appeal. 

Public prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong said the court could confirm the Chief Justice had nothing to do with the case while in his previous role as attorney-general. 

An online petition calling for Nagaenthran's death sentence to be commuted has previously garnered almost 70,000 signatures (pictured, protesters in November, 2021)

An online petition calling for Nagaenthran’s death sentence to be commuted has previously garnered almost 70,000 signatures (pictured, protesters in November, 2021)

In 2019, the European Union called for the sentence to be commuted with Malaysia’s prime minister writing to his Singaporean counterpart asking for a delay. 

An online petition calling for Nagaenthran’s death sentence to be commuted has previously garnered almost 70,000 signatures.

Singapore’s home affairs ministry has repeatedly defended the execution, saying that legal rulings found he ‘knew what he was doing’ at the time of the offence. 

The execution is the second this year since 2019 in Singapore, which defends its use of capital punishment as an effective deterrent against crime. 

Abdul Kahar bin Othman, 68, was hanged at Changi Prison on March 30 of this year, after being sentenced for drug importation. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk