A Singapore court has rejected a Malaysian man's last appeal against his death sentence despite claiming that he is "mentally disabled." The man was convicted more than ten years ago for smuggling drugs into the country.

The 33-year-old man, called Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, was convicted of drug trafficking in 2010 after he was found in possession of 42.7 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin.

Dharmalingam, who was 21 years old at the time of his arrest, had said that he was forced into carrying the package and that he did not know what it contained.

He was granted a last-minute appeal wherein his lawyer, Violet Netto, argued that Dharmalingam should not be executed because he is not capable of making informed decisions.

Singapore court rejects Malaysian's appeal in high-profile execution case https://t.co/QrQglGw3CN pic.twitter.com/hzyzTkUxCz

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He said that Dharmalingam has an IQ of 69, a level recognised as an "intellectual disability." His lawyer also objected to disclosing his medical records. Netto instead urged the five-judge bench to allow an independent psychiatric review of Dharmalingam's condition.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon rejected the lawyer's appeal stating that it was "unreasonable."

"The appellant has been afforded due process under law, and it is not open to him to challenge the outcome of that process when he has put nothing forward to suggest that he does have a case to be considered," said the bench.

The Malaysian national is currently detained in Singapore's Changi prison and has exhausted all legal options that can prevent his execution, wrote The Independent citing his former lawyer.

"The Court of Appeal has just dismissed the application and considered the appeal an abuse of process and that international law does not apply. Nagaenthran who is mentally disabled is due to be hanged possibly in the next few days," said M. Ravi, a member of Dharmalingam's legal team, wrote in a Facebook post.

He was originally scheduled to be hanged in November last year, but the execution was delayed since he still had the right to appeal. The new date and time of his execution is not yet clear.

Dharmalingam's case had attracted international attention with human rights experts, the United Nations, the European Union, and civil society groups arguing against his execution.

His sister Sarmila Dharmalingam told The Guardian: "Just give a second chance to my brother to live a life. Everybody [makes] mistakes. We must give them a chance to realise their mistakes."

Singapore has some of the harshest drug laws, as many as 25 people have been executed in the city-state between 2016 and 2019 for drug-related offences.

Meanwhile, Singapore is due to hang 68-year-old drug user Abdul Kahar Othman on March 30. He was sentenced to death in 2015 after being found guilty of two counts of drug trafficking.

Yong Vui Kong
Singapore, like much of Southeast Asia, has very draconian laws, particularly with respect to drug trafficking – for which, a conviction often leads to the death penalty. Creative Common