Singapore: An online petition to save an Indian-origin Malaysian from the gallows next week has gathered nearly 40,000 signatures with human rights activists urging the government to halt the execution, saying the man is intellectually disabled.

Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who is on death row at Singapore’s Changi Prison, was convicted in 2010 for drug trafficking.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday said the High Court and the Court of Appeal held that Nagaenthran’s mental responsibility for his offence was not substantially impaired.

He was found to have clearly understood that what he did was a crime and took the “calculated risk” to pay off his debt.

This was the finding by the High Court while sentencing the convict to death in 2010 for importing drugs into Singapore and it was upheld by the Court of Appeal, which “flatly rejected his account of being coerced under duress”, TODAY newspaper quoted the MHA as saying.

The MHA also said it is helping Nagaenthran’s family with travel arrangements from Malaysia to Singapore and that his visitors will be granted extended face-to-face visits daily, according to the Singapore tabloid.

Nagaenthran was convicted and given the death penalty in November 2010 for importing 42.72 grams of heroin a year before.

“His petition to the President for clemency was unsuccessful,” the MHA said.

An online report, cited by media outlets, said Nagaenthran would be hanged on November 10.

The petition to President Halimah Yacob to pardon Nagaenthran was started on October 29. It seeks 50,000 signatures in support of the clemency plea to the president. It has gathered 39,962 signatures as of Thursday.

The petition states that the convict should be pardoned because he had testified that he was “coerced” into drug trafficking by a man who had threatened to kill his girlfriend.

It also states that Nagaenthran has an intellectual disability and a low IQ, impaired executive functioning and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Given that Nagaenthran is intellectually disabled, committed a non-violent crime and was allegedly coerced by assaults and threats, we sincerely appeal for President Halimah Yacob to uphold Singapore’s commitment to the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) by pardoning Nagaenthran’s death sentence,” media reports said, citing the petition.

Nagaenthran had first appealed to be resentenced under amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act that were passed in 2012.

The amendments allow a court to sentence a drug offender to life imprisonment instead of death if he is merely a courier on the condition that the public prosecutor issues the offender a certificate of substantive assistance for helping the Central Narcotics Bureau disrupt drug-trafficking activities.

Nagaenthran then lodged a second appeal for a judicial review into the public prosecutor’s decision not to issue him a certificate of substantive assistance.

The High Court dismissed both applications and, in 2019, the Court of Appeal dismissed both of Nageanthran’s appeals against the High Court’s decision.

Also read: Coffee most promising crop for Nagaland: Chief Secy to growers

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