Man With Alleged Intellectual Disability Gets Death Sentence, S’pore Lawyer Pleads For Clemency

Man With Alleged Intellectual Disability Receives Death Sentence Scheduled For 10 Nov

While the Singapore system believes in rehabilitation, certain crimes like drug trafficking can be subject to the heaviest punishment of a death sentence, often with little leeway for negotiation.

On Thursday (28 Oct), activist Kokila Annamalai shared a Facebook post about Nagaenthran, who allegedly has an intellectual disability but was given the death sentence.


His family, who resides in Malaysia, received a letter informing them that his execution was scheduled for 10 Nov.

Lawyer M Ravi said the execution of a mentally ill person is prohibited under human rights law and has arranged for an urgent meeting with Nagaenthran to try to save him.

Execution scheduled on 10 Nov

On Thursday (28 Oct), a letter received by Nagaenthran’s mother was shared in a Facebook post.

The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) letter informed her that the death sentence will be carried out on her son on Wednesday (10 Nov).


SPS then stated that they will help facilitate the family’s visits since they stay in Malaysia.

According to lawyer M Ravi, prison authorities told Nagaenthran’s family to come to Singapore and make funeral preparations beforehand, on the same week that Deepavali takes place.

Man on death sentence allegedly has borderline intellectual disability

Ms Annamalai elaborated on Nagaenthran’s story. He was 21 in 2009 when arrested and 22 when sentenced to death.


Nagaenthran testified that he carried drugs across Singapore’s borders after assaults and coercion. Death threats were also allegedly made to his girlfriend. However, authorities did not believe him.

Following that, Nagaenthran was diagnosed with borderline intellectual disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by a psychiatrist.

Despite this, authorities deemed his condition was not severe enough to be spared the death penalty.

Nagaenthran then tried to provide information to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) that’d help disrupt drug trafficking activities. However, he was not granted the certificate of cooperation.

The lady drew a sharp contrast between Hindu families and Nagaenthran’s family’s predicament as Deepavali draws near.

While families will be joyously dressing up and taking festive pictures, Nagaenthran’s family will be buying him clothes to wear in his very last picture, to be used at his funeral.

Lawyer M Ravi pleads for clemency

On Thursday (28 Oct), lawyer M Ravi shared the news about Nagaenthran’s impending execution on a Facebook livestream.

intellectual disability death sentenceSource

He was informed by Nagaenthran’s sister whose voice was trembling as she relayed the “horrific news”.

Mr Ravi elaborated that Nagaenthran was deemed mentally ill by his psychiatrist Dr Ken Ung.

The lawyer had previously rendered an opinion to the Malaysian government about this case but no action was taken.

Currently, the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) has begun its campaign to save Nagaenthran.

Mr Ravi has been instructed to act swiftly to save Nagaenthran. He has arranged for an urgent visit with him on Monday (1 Nov) at 9am.

During the livestream, he pleaded for the public, and especially for the Malaysian government, President Halimah Yacob, and the United Nations to petition against the execution.

He hopes that clemency can be granted for Nagaenthran, challenging the “hardened” process that had not been used for the last 22 years.

Prohibited under human rights law

In a follow-up Facebook post, M.Ravi said the execution of a mentally ill person is prohibited under international human rights law.

It is also not allowed under the Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) which Singapore ratified.

intellectual disability death sentenceSource

He then again appealed to the public to stand up against the execution.

A complex case

Capital punishment has always been a contentious topic here in Singapore. But this is an exceptional case involving mental illness and possible coercion, which makes it less clear-cut.

And while the law has seemingly run its due course and sentenced Nagaenthran to the death penalty, it can be said that any course of action that can be taken to save him, should be taken.

After all, criminal proceedings are not always straightforward and in a death sentence case, there should be no avenue left untaken since death isn’t reversible.

We wish them the best in the appeal.

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Featured image adapted from Kokila Annamalai on Facebook and Ravi MRavi on Facebook.

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