Media Statement – 3/11/2021
Rights of Family of person to be hanged on 10/11/2021 Violated Due to Short Notice and Covid-19 Restrictions
State fixed Execution Date of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam must be vacated
MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is appalled by the short 2-weeks notice given to family about date of execution of Malaysian in Singapore.
It is only just and morally responsible that family and friends of persons to be executed, including children involved, be accorded an opportunity and the right to say final good-byes to a loved one before he dies. The ‘to be executed’ may be guilty, but let’s not forget the rights of the family and friends of him/her, who are innocent victims of the situation which Singapore has full control.
Covid-19 introduced new hurdles to international travel
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when travel from Malaysia to Singapore is restricted, Singapore scheduled when Malaysian Nagaenthran Dharmalingam is to be hanged to death for drug trafficking.
The family was informed vide letter dated 26/10/2021, which stated, amongst others, ‘“Please be informed that the death sentence passed on your son Nagaenthran A/L K Dharmalingam, will be carried out on 10 November 2021.”
Travel from Malaysia into Singapore during this pandemic is highly restricted, as is the case of cross-border travel across the world.
A perusal of Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) website, suggests that the only available travel option for family and friends in Malaysia of the soon to be hanged Nagaenthran seem to be under the ‘Death & Critical Illness Emergency Visit’ option
‘…This Death & Critical Illness Emergency Visit (DCEV) Lane caters to all foreign travellers who are seeking urgent entry into Singapore to attend to the death or critical medical condition of an immediate family member in Singapore. A maximum of two travellers may be granted entry per case...’ One can assume a families and friends of a soon to be executed by State person would be able to apply for this DCEV pass to enter Singapore from Malaysia.
It is also unjust that DCEV pass is only available for just 2 persons, which means many family members and friends will not be able to even enter Singapore, let alone get permission to have a LAST visit with the soon to be executed.
In normal times, travel to Singapore happens simply with a passport and an on-arrival social visit pass, but not the case now by reason of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, it takes days to do the needed tests and get the needed approvals before one will be able to enter Singapore from Malaysia.
Vacate the Execution Date – and later, if needed, give a reasonably long notice
MADPET believes that its only morally responsible and reasonable that Singapore during this Covid-19 pandemic should not only have given a much longer notice to family about execution dates, but should also have done the needful to ensure the rights of family and friends of the person to be executed is not violated – the right to have a last meeting and say final goodbyes.
As such, MADPET calls on Singapore to immediately vacate the execution date of 10/11/2021, and fix a much later date giving a longer notice period to enable all family members and friends the right to last visit of the soon to be executed.
Should higher amount of drugs warrant higher sentences?
21-year-old Nagen in 2009 was caught with a mere 42g (less than three tablespoons) of diamorphine entering Singapore, and on conviction he was sentenced to death. If he were caught trafficking 10 kg or 1 tonne of drugs, the sentence would be the same. As such, this creates an unjust and unreasonable situation, and MADPET call for the review of drug trafficking sentencing, and as that appropriate sentence be given depending on the weight of drugs involved, the acts of trafficking that the State has proven and also age and whether he is a first time offender or not.
When Mental Disability should ‘change’ how sentences carried out?
In the case of Nagen, recently the Malaysian Bar, the Advocates Association of Sarawak, the Sabah Law Society and many other groups have raised the issue of ‘mental disability’ and have asked that the Singapore government not to proceed with the execution as Nagaenthran suffers from a mental disability. Nagaenthran’s mental capacity had diminished ever since he was convicted, and he has been diagnosed with a borderline intellectual disability with an IQ of 69.
Noting that death penalty is imposed to deter others from committing the crime of drug trafficking, for it certainly not a deterrent to the convicted, who can never be deterred after he/she is no longer alive. Hence, the important question would the conviction and execution of a person suffering from a mental disorder or abnormality deter others.
Persons with terminal diseases have also been seen to be released prematurely from prison.
Hanging a person with mental disorders not a DETERRENT
In a 2011 Australian High Court case of Muldrock v R, the convicted Appellant was described as being mentally retarded and intellectually disabled, assessed as having an IQ of 62. The High Court held in this case that the Appellant was not a vehicle for general deterrence by virtue of his mental retardation and intellectual disability and quoted the following passage given by Justice Young: ‘General deterrence should often be given very little weight in the case of an offender suffering from a mental disorder or abnormality because such an offender is not an appropriate medium for making an example to others.’ The sentence was significant reduced in the context of more weight being given to the Appellant’s intellectual disability.
In India, a study on the mental illness and intellectual disability among 88 death row prisoners by the National Law University Delhi found that an "overwhelming" majority of death row prisoners interviewed -- 62.2 per cent, had a mental illness and 11 per cent had an intellectual disability. The study revealed that 19 out of the 88 prisoners who were interviewed were ultimately acquitted and the sentence of 33 prisoners was commuted to various terms of life imprisonment. (The Week, 22/10/2021)
As such, justice will be served if Nagaenthran due to his current borderline intellectual disability with an IQ of 69, be acquitted or at the very least, his death sentence be commuted to imprisonment. A sentence serving prisoner with a mental illness or intellectual disability really should be treated, not simply continued to be imprisoned and worse still hanged to death. A failure of determination and bringing to the attention of the trial judge during trial or sentencing Nagaenthran’s mental health and condition may also lead to miscarriage of justice.
As such, MADPET
A) Calls for Nagaenthran’s execution date of 10/11/2021 be immediately vacated to allow the rights of his family and friends to the last visit and final good byes, taking into account the travel and movement restrictions during this Covid-19 pandemic;
B) Calls for Singapore to review Nagaenthran’s death sentence in light of the revelation of his mental illness and intellectual disability, and take into consideration acquittal or commutation of the death penalty to imprisonment;
C) Calls on Singapore to review its sentencing of persons convicted for drug trafficking, which justly should also factor in the amount of drugs involved, and the actual acts he/she did with the said drugs; and
D) Calls on Singapore, being part of the United Nations, to immediately impose a moratorium on executions pending the abolition of the death penalty, in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted in December 2020, which was supported by 123 nation states, including Malaysia. The global support for moratorium on executions continues to grow, when in 2007 there were only 104 that voted in favour of this similar resolution.
For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
62.2 pc death row prisoners diagnosed with at least one mental illness: Study
Death row prisoners suffered from childhood abuse, and disturbed family environments
A study on the mental illness and intellectual disability among death row prisoners has shown that over 62 per cent had at least one mental illness, half of them contemplated suicide in jail and experienced adverse childhood and traumatic life experiences.
Project 39A, a criminal justice program at the National Law University Delhi, conducted a study on 88 death row prisoners, three female, and 85 male, and their families across Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh.
The findings of the study titled "Deathworthy: A mental Health Perspective of the Death Penalty" presented empirical data on mental illness and intellectual disability among death row prisoners in India and the psychological consequences of living on death row.
The report which was released after five years of research also established correlations between conditions of incarceration and ill-health.
The report stated that it was found that an "overwhelming" majority of death row prisoners interviewed -- 62.2 per cent, had a mental illness and 11 per cent had an intellectual disability.
This proportion is overwhelmingly higher than the proportion in the community population, it said.
51 death row prisoners (62.2 per cent) were diagnosed with at least one mental illness. 35.3 per cent were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MMD), 22.6 per cent were diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and 6.8 per cent screened positive for psychosis, the report said.
On Wednesday, speaking at a panel discussion organized to mark the release of the report, Justice S Muralidhar, Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, said that sentencing should be a socio-legal exercise and take into account a 360 degree understanding of the victim's perspective, the victim's family perspective, history and the wider impact of the society at large.
This report tries to show us that even the accused are, in a way, victims, he further said.
The study showed that 19 out of the 88 prisoners who were interviewed were ultimately acquitted and the sentence of 33 prisoners was commuted to various terms of life imprisonment.
13 out of the 19 prisoners who are now acquitted were diagnosed with at least one mental illness, three had attempted suicide in prison. Of the 30 prisoners diagnosed with depression, 17 are now no more on death row, Maitreyi Misra, the lead author of the study, stated in the report.
The report added, Of the 34 prisoners who had been at risk of suicide, 20 are not on death row anymore. Half of those who were actively contemplating suicide around the time of the interview is not on death row anymore.
Almost 9 out of 83 death row prisoners were diagnosed with intellectual disability. Over 75 percent of prisoners were found to have deficits in intellectual functioning.
While international law prohibits the imposition of the death sentence on persons with mental disabilities, in the case of these nine prisoners, their disability was not even brought to the attention of the courts, Misra added.
Besides this, 34 death row prisoners, over 50 per cent, out of the 63 prisoners who volunteered information on suicidal behaviour and ideation spoke about contemplating suicide at least once in prison.
According to the report, one man spent 14 years on death row in solitary confinement and reported having heard voices, seen a goddess, and even attempted to kill himself.
Eight prisoners had attempted suicide in prison, the study stated, adding that these numbers and proportions are alarmingly high when compared to the proportion of those at high risk of suicide among the general prison population and in the community.
The study also showed that the death row prisoners suffered from childhood abuse, neglect, and disturbed family environments.
Among the 88 prisoners interviewed, the cascading effect of poverty was clear. 46 prisoners were physically or verbally abused as children, 64 were neglected, and 73 prisoners grew up in disturbed family environments. 46 prisoners had less than 10 years of education, 28 had early onset of substance abuse. 73 prisoners had experienced three or more adverse experiences, the report finds.
Over 56 prisoners experienced three or more potentially traumatic experiences like natural disasters, physical abuse, accidents, the report said adding that prisoners who were diagnosed with a current episode of MDD reported experiencing more traumatic life events than those who were not diagnosed.
It further stated that death row prisoners are treated as a separate class of prisoners and, more often than not, the violence and alienation are directly linked to their belonging to this separate class -- the living dead.
It stated that the families of death row prisoners go through this punishment as well, who are assumed to be guilty by association and are left behind to face the wrath and collective condemnation of society.
Not knowing whether their loved one is going to live or die, families deal with this 'ambiguous loss' without being able to grieve openly because who, after all, would mourn the loss of a death row prisoner. Their 'disenfranchised grief' remains unexpressed and unvalidated, the report added. - The Week, 22/10/2021
This Death & Critical Illness Emergency Visit (DCEV) Lane caters to all foreign travellers who are seeking urgent entry into Singapore to attend to the death or critical medical condition of an immediate family member in Singapore. A maximum of two travellers may be granted entry per case. Singapore Citizens (SC) and Permanent Residents (PR) in a similar predicament can return to Singapore without the need to apply for an entry approval via this lane; click here for more details.
Summarised below is a quick overview of the key lane features and requirements. Travellers who are ineligible for travel via this lane may refer here for a list of available Safe Travel options.
|Eligible Travellers||Non-Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (capped at two travellers per eligible case) who are unable to enter Singapore via a Safe Travel lane, but require urgent entry to attend to the death or critical medical condition of an immediate family member.|
|Required Country/Region of Departure||All countries/regions allowed.|
|Who Can Apply||Travellers themselves|
|How to Apply||Submit a request via this form.
Aside from selecting “Appeal for entry into Singapore under Compassionate Reasons” in the form, travellers must also submit the following:
|Entry Period||Travellers will be informed once entry approval is granted.|
|Travel Health Control Measures|
(e.g. Stay Home Notice duration, swabs to be taken)
control measures are generally applied based on the traveller's 14-day
travel history before arriving in Singapore.|
CLICK HERE for the travel health control measure (e.g. Stay Home Notice, swab tests) categories and their applicable country/region. Prevailing health measures will apply but special arrangements can be made for the traveller to visit the funeral/hospital during the SHN period if need be.....Singapore’s Immigration and CheckpointsAuthority of Singapore (ICA) website
COMMENT | Appeal to Singapore govt: Abandon 'barbarism'
Published: Nov 2, 2021 7:08 PM
Updated: 7:10 PM
Next Wednesday (Nov 10), Nagaenthran Dharmalingam is scheduled to be executed by the Singapore government on charges of drug trafficking.
The 33-year-old has been documented to have an IQ of 69. Having an IQ of below 70 is considered an intellectual impairment, technically making Nagaenthran a differently-abled person.
I learned the following details from Nagen's family members:
In 2009, 21-year-old Nagen was working in Johor Bahru. He did not come from a rich family, so when his father was going to have a heart operation, he approached a man (let’s call him K) for a RM500 loan.
K agreed to give the loan if Nagen would carry something into Singapore. When Nagen protested, K physically assaulted Nagen and threatened to kill Nagen’s girlfriend.
Nagen entered Singapore with 42g (less than three tablespoons) of diamorphine strapped to his thigh.
The drugs were discovered by the Singaporean authorities, and Nagen was allegedly strip-searched and abused. Nagen was arrested, charged, and eventually sentenced to death under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
In 2012, the Singapore government laudably amended this act to move away from mandatory death sentences and allow life sentences in established cases of drug mules.
Life sentences would also be allowed for people who suffered from "an abnormality of mind" which substantially impaired their mental responsibility for the act committed.
Nagen’s lawyers applied for this provision to be used, and several psychiatrists testified Nagen was indeed mentally impaired. His IQ of 69 was established, and he was also diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The lawyers’ application was rejected.
Giving us a sense of Nagen’s state of mind, prominent Malaysian human rights lawyer N Surendran, who is also working on this case, was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying:
“He doesn’t really get what is happening. He has some vague idea that something is going to happen to him on the 10th of November but he thinks he is going to go to a beautiful garden and be happy there. It’s beyond words.”
It’s heartbreaking. But the heartbreak does not stop there.
The Singapore government sent a letter to Nagen’s family on Oct 26, which began: “Please be informed that the death sentence passed on your son Nagaenthran A/L K Dharmalingam, will be carried out on 10 November 2021.”
Just imagine, as millions of others celebrate Deepavali, Nagen’s family is being given a date for a funeral. If he is executed, every Deepavali will thereafter remind the family of this tragedy.
Nagen’s sister said they even didn’t dare tell their mother the news, because she was also in frail health, and feared what would happen.
I don’t think most of us can possibly imagine the kind of pain and suffering Nagen’s family is going through.
There is a small handful who might be able to, though.
Sangkari Pranthaman may be one such person.
Sangkari’s brother, Pannir Selvam Pranthaman was also similarly sentenced to death for the same reason in 2017.
Pannir’s story is equally heartbreaking. There’s a trove of stories available about this remarkable young man on his campaign website and a collection of songs written by Pannir himself.
Indeed, you can even read his very own words, published four times on Malaysiakini.
On the Nagen case, Pannir’s sister Sangkari wrote:
“Drug mules are not from wealthy families; they are from poor and vulnerable ones. Singapore, where is your heart? Where is your conscience?
“I wonder if Singapore has caught someone like Pablo Escobar or Dario Antonio Usuga David before? You know, the individuals at the top of drug cartels.
“These two men were caught by Columbian authorities. Singapore could not do this, yet punish those who were innocent and were manipulated into becoming drug mules.
“I urge the public to come forward and say “No” to this injustice and to prevent the unlawful execution of Nagaenthran under international human rights conventions. Let’s come together and end crime, not lives.”
There is very little I can possibly add, except to re-emphasise the point about Dario Antonio’s arrest - where the authorities went for the head of the snake, rather than bullying drug mules who are less than pawns in this massive game.
We hear of drug mules being sentenced to death almost every year, but I cannot recall even a single arrest of a major drug lord in our region.
This makes these executions seem like nothing more than an increasingly brutal way to give the impression that ‘something is being done’, while rich governments take no action against the true perpetrators of drug trafficking - rich drug lords.
Ordinary Malaysians and ordinary Singaporeans are both more than happy to do their part in the war against drugs. But we will never condone the killing of individuals who are victims of this war as any drug addict.
And we do need to come together on this. Brave Singaporean activists have shown more compassion and concern for these victims than their own countrymen, and their kindness and concern will be remembered forever.
It is our duty to resist the ridiculous shenanigans of our politicians who would rather have us fighting about what to name some whiskey, than unite to save the life of one of our own.
Sangkari said it best: Let’s come together and end crime, not lives. - Malaysiakini, 2/11/2021
KUALA LUMPUR: An appeal for clemency has been submitted to the Singapore government to commute the death sentence on Malaysian Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam for drug trafficking.
Nagaenthran, who was convicted of trafficking in 42.72gm of diamorphine in 2011, is expected to be executed on Nov 10.
Several legal professional bodies, namely the Malaysian Bar, the Advocates Association of Sarawak and the Sabah Law Society, joined hands in pleading to the Singapore government not to proceed with the execution as Nagaenthran suffers from a mental disability.
Malaysian Bar president AG Kalidas said the plea was based on the fact that Nagaenthran’s mental capacity had diminished ever since he was convicted.
He noted that Nagaenthran had been diagnosed with a borderline intellectual disability with an IQ of 69.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Bar Human Rights Committee co-chair New Sin Yew called for the death penalty to be abolished.
“The death penalty should be abolished. It is something that we (Malaysian Bar) have been advocating for the past few decades and we will continue to do so, especially when it concerns Malaysians.
“This is something we hope Singapore will consider when it comes to the execution of Nagaenthran,” he told reporters after submitting the appeal at the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur this evening.
Malaysian Bar Constitutional Law Committee co-chair Andrew Khoo, had criticised the government’s lack of effort to intervene in Nagaenthran’s execution despite the fact that Malaysia supports the United Nations’ call for a moratorium on the death penalty.
“We have not heard from the government about any effort being undertaken to intervene in the execution. I think the government must convince fellow Asean governments on their approach and attitude towards the death penalty.”
Earlier today, DAP MP Kasthuri Patto urged the government to intervene and appeal to the Singapore government to stop the execution of Nagaenthran.
A petition to save Nagaenthran has also been launched on change.org and has garnered over 25,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Last week, human rights group Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network also urged the Singapore government to commute the death sentence of Nagaenthran.
Another rights group, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), urged the government to make representations to the Singapore authorities to spare Nagaenthran from the gallows.
LFL adviser N Surendran said the government could lodge a report with the International Court of Justice. - FMT, 2/11/2021