Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was hanged on Wednesday after being convicted more than a decade ago of trafficking at least 43 grams of heroin to Singapore in 2009.
The Singapore government has defended the decision to execute a Malaysian convicted of drug trafficking after the sentence drew international criticism due to concerns over his mental capacity.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was hanged on Wednesday after being convicted more than a decade ago of trafficking at least 43 grams of heroin to Singapore in 2009. Multiple appeals against the sentence had been dismissed in court of the city-state.
Lawyers for the 34-year-old, along with the United Nations Human Rights Office and businessman Richard Branson, had urged the Singapore government to halt the execution, arguing the Malaysian was intellectually disabled after being assessed by a court-appointed psychologist in 2013 for having an IQ of 69.
Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement that courts in the city-state had concluded that “Nagaenthran knew what he was doing; and that he did not suffer from an intellectual disability.
“A lot of misinformation has been released about Nagaenthran, particularly about his mental state,” the agency said, pointing to two cases in the United States in 2021 in which those executed had IQs in a similar range.
While the Southeast Asian nation has moved away from imposing the death penalty for some crimes, it maintains its tough stance on drug trafficking and manufacturing-related crimes.
Neighboring Malaysia, where a moratorium on drug-related executions has been in place since 2018, has also called on Singapore authorities to halt the execution.
In an April 25 press release, the UN Human Rights Office expressed concern about “a rapid increase in the number of execution notices issued since the start of the year in Singapore.”