Singapore to hang 2nd Indian-origin drug trafficker in 3 months, appeal fails | World News

Indian-origin Malaysian drug trafficker Kalwant Singh will be hanged early Thursday after a Singapore court rejected a last-minute appeal to delay the sentence. It comes two months after authorities executed another Indian-Malaysian drug trafficker – Nagendran Dharmalingam, 34 – whose lawyer and family appealed on the grounds that he was mentally incompetent.

Singh, 32, was convicted in 2016 of smuggling heroin into the city-state and sentenced to death. He had sought reconsideration on the grounds that he had provided information that helped arrest a major suspected drug trafficker.

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network has written to the Singapore embassy on Singh’s behalf, asking for a stay of execution.

Kalwant was threatened with violence and forced to deliver drugs to Singapore to repay a football gambling debt.

In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking 15 grams or more of pure heroin. However, if the offender acts only as a courier and cooperates with the authorities, the judge can commute the sentence to life imprisonment. Kalwant Singh, one of the co-accused in the case, was told by news agency AFP that his sentence was reduced after he cooperated with investigators.

Read | Singapore urges stay of execution of Punjab-based drug trafficker

However, a three-judge bench dismissed Singh’s plea citing the Central Narcotics Bureau’s affidavit that none of the information provided by him was used to arrest the suspect.

“We dismiss the injunction petition,” said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

In April, Singapore executed Dharmalingam, who had been on death row for more than a decade. Accused of smuggling about 43 grams of heroin.

Read | Singapore sentences mentally challenged Indian-Malaysian to death in drug case

His family and legal counsel suggested his IQ was 69 and that the death penalty for a mentally ill person is prohibited under international human rights law.

In a recent BBC interview, Law Minister K Shanmugham disputed the IQ claim; He said the courts had found “a deliberate, deliberate, calibrated, calculated decision to bring the drugs.”

Debate over the death penalty in Singapore has been intense, with the government insisting that it has a deterrent value that ‘…has shown…that the most serious crimes (and) restrict drug traffickers (their activities) below the capital’s sentence limits’.

However, prominent Singaporean rights activist Kirsten Han, quoted by AFP, said research showed it was not an effective deterrent and called the executions ‘horrific’.

Another smuggler Norashari Gaus (48) from Singapore will also be hanged on Thursday.

With input from the AFP

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