Singapore court stops execution of man with learning disabilities

Singapore’s high court has stayed the execution of a man convicted of smuggling heroin, following outrage among rights groups who said he had learning disabilities and the sentence was a violation of international law.

Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian national, was arrested in April 2009, when he was 21, for attempting to smuggle 43 grams of heroin into Singapore. The drugs had been strapped to his thigh. He was sentenced to death the following year and, having spent more than 12 years on death row, was told he would face execution on 10 November.

The sentencing has been widely condemned by international groups including Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network and Amnesty International. An online petition in support of Dharmalingam has attracted more than 62,000 signatures.

According to campaigners there is evidence that Dharmalingam was forced to courier drugs as a victim of human trafficking.



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