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Indian-origin drug trafficker’s death sentence appeal adjourned in Singapore T

Singapore, Jan 24 (PTI) Indian-origin drug trafficker Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s appeal against his execution sentence, which was scheduled to be heard on Monday, has been adjourned indefinitely, according to a media report.

Nagaenthran’s new lawyer Violet Netto had applied for the adjournment, The Straits Times newspaper reported on Monday.

Nagaenthran, 33, of Indian-origin and Malaysian citizenship, is appealing against a High Court decision denying him permission to start judicial review proceedings to challenge the death sentence.

No new hearing date has been fixed, according to The Straits Times report.

The hearing was slated to be heard by a five-judge panel comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Justices Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash, Belinda Ang and Chao Hick Tin.

Nagaenthran has also asked the court to exercise its power to have him assessed by psychiatrists for mental fitness. Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009 with heroin strapped to his thigh.

He was convicted of trafficking 42.72g of heroin in 2010 and given the death penalty, which was then mandatory.

His appeals against his conviction and sentence were dismissed in 2011.

In 2015, he applied to be re-sentenced to life imprisonment after the law was changed to allow the alternative sentence.

The High Court upheld his death sentence in 2017 after considering expert evidence from four psychiatric and psychological experts.

Last year, Nagaenthran made an eleventh-hour attempt to challenge his impending execution on November 10, on the basis that he was suffering from mental disabilities.

On the day of his appeal on November 9, Nagaenthran tested positive for COVID-19. He was granted a stay of execution and the hearing was adjourned.

In this interim period, the hearing got further delayed after his first lawyer, M Ravi – also of Indian-origin – was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) forced Ravi to go on leave from December 2 to January 13.

Nagaenthran’s sentence has attracted reactions from across the world. In November, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob wrote to his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on the matter, seeking clemency purely on humanitarian grounds.

Human rights groups as well as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson have also weighed in on the issue.

An online petition calling for Nagaenthran to be pardoned from the death sentence has garnered more than 100,000 signatures. It argues that Nagaenthran should be spared the gallows because he had committed the offence under duress, and had been assessed to have a low IQ of 69.

The European Union delegation to Singapore, along with the diplomatic missions of Norway and Switzerland, have called for the execution to be halted.

“Today, more than two thirds of the countries of the world have become abolitionist in law or practice, which confirms a global trend in favour of the abolition of the death penalty,” they said in a statement. PTI GS IND IND

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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