When news surfaced of Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s death penalty, folks for and against the punishment had much to say, especially in light of his alleged intellectual disability.
A lot has happened since then, with his execution on 10 Nov 2021 postponed after the 33-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 one day prior. The court also received a last-minute appeal against the execution.
On Tuesday (29 Mar), the Court of Appeal rejected the application, calling it a “blatant and egregious” abuse of court processes.
Following the court’s decision, Nagaenthran will likely be executed in the near future, with activists anticipating this to happen within the next seven days.
Delivering the judgement on Tuesday (29 Mar), Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon reportedly called Nagaenthran’s case “baseless and without merit”, quoted TODAY.
The court also described the application as a “blatant and egregious abuse of the court processes”, reported Al Jazeera.
In particular, Justice Sundaresh said that the submission of the application had seemingly been with the aim of “unjustifiably delaying” the death sentence.
The appeals court also said that it was improper for counsels to file consecutive applications after the law has allowed for the imposition of capital punishment under specific circumstances. Neither should they be “drip-feeding” or gradually providing evidence.
In light of the court’s verdict, activists whom Al Jazeera quoted said that Nagaenthran may be sent to the gallows within the next seven days.
Nagaenthran’s former lawyer M Ravi shared this information on Facebook, possibly affirming it.
According to TODAY, Nagaenthran was caught trafficking 42.72g of pure heroin into Singapore in 2009. The court had sentenced him to death the following year.
The decade that followed saw appeals and a petition to the President for clemency, all of which were in vain.
In Oct 2021, Nagaenthran’s family in Malaysia received a letter informing them that the 33-year-old’s execution was due to happen on 10 Nov 2021.
Since then, more than 100,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of the execution.
On 8 Nov 2021, 2 days before the execution was to happen, M Ravi submitted a court application arguing that Nagaenthran had the mental age of someone below 18.
The judge, however, said that Nagaenthran wasn’t suffering from any intellectual disability even though he had “borderline intellectual functioning”.
While the judge eventually dismissed the appeal, he allowed for a temporary stay of execution until Mr Ravi appealed against the dismissal, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).
1 day later, Nagaenthran apparently tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the court to postpone the execution as a result.
After holding out hope for so long, we can only imagine how devastated Nagaenthran’s family must feel about the court’s decision.
Our hearts go out to them and those who have worked hard to appeal against the sentencing.
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Featured image adapted from Change.org and by MS News.
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