Facing international criticism, Singapore defends Malaysian's execution


Singapore authorities late on Wednesday defended a decision to execute a Malaysian drug trafficker, in response to international criticism over their use of the death penalty.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, had been convicted of smuggling at least 42 grams of heroin into Singapore, which has among the world's harshest narcotics laws. He was hanged on Wednesday morning, after multiple legal challenges and appeals for clemency on the grounds that he had an intellectual disability, failed.

His lawyers and activists have said Nagaenthran's IQ was found to be 69, a level recognised as an intellectual disability.

But Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement his actions were "a deliberate, purposeful and calculated decision", and reiterated court findings that "he knew what he was doing".

The Attorney General's Chambers said in a separate statement Nagaenthran was given a fair trial and had "exhausted his rights of appeal and almost every other recourse under the law over some 11 years".

The case attracted international attention, with a group of United Nations experts and British billionaire Richard Branson joining human rights activists to urge Singapore to commute his death sentence.

The European Union and Amnesty International were also among several voices that called the punishment "inhumane" and urged Singapore to impose a moratorium on executions.

The city-state's government says the death penalty is a deterrent against drug trafficking and most of its citizens support capital punishment.

Another Malaysian drug trafficker, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, is due to be executed on Friday.

More from International

  • German police shoot axe-wielding man at Euro 2024 parade

    German police fired shots at a person who threatened officers with a pickaxe and an incendiary device on the sidelines of a Euro 2024 fan parade in central Hamburg, according to a police post on social media platform X.

  • Hamas Gaza ceasefire proposal reply 'consistent' with US plan

    Hamas' response to the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal is consistent with the principles put forward in US President Joe Biden's plan, the group's Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised speech on the occasion of the Islamic Eid al-Adha.

  • Israel announces tactical pause to allow Gaza aid

    The Israeli military said it would hold daily tactical pauses in military activity in parts of southern Gaza to allow more aid to flow into the enclave, where international aid organisations have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis.

  • US VP Harris announces $1.5 billion Ukraine aid

    US Vice President Kamala Harris pledged America's unwavering support for Ukraine and announced more than $1.5 billion (AED 5.5 billion) in aid for the country's energy sector and its humanitarian situation as a result of Russia's 27-month invasion.

  • Ukraine summit strives for consensus to lean on Russia to end conflict

    Western powers and countries from the rest of the world will use the second day of a major summit in Switzerland to pursue a consensus on condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and underscoring concerns about the conflict's human cost.