Singapore's Judiciary has decided to halt the execution of a 33-year-old Malayan citizen who had been sentenced to death for drug smuggling after the inmate was diagnosed with COVID-19.
A Singaporean court had gathered Tuesday to decide on an appeal from Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, whose lawyer argued should be spared from meeting the hangman due to his mental condition and because he was a minor -aged 20- at the time of the offense.
However, the court adjourned proceedings on that issue and instead ruled that due to Dharmalingam’s COVID-19 diagnosis, his execution would be postponed. “In view of the situation, the Court of Appeal granted a stay of the judicial execution with immediate effect until all pending proceedings are concluded,” the Singapore Prison Service announced through a statement.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was tried and convicted in 2010 of attempting to smuggle a small amount of heroin into Singapore. Under local law, anyone who smuggles more than 15 grams of heroin can be put to death.
“Nagaenthran will receive medical attention and proceedings will resume on a date to be fixed” once he has recovered, it was announced.
Dharmalingam’s lawyer M. Ravi said that “COVID has allowed him to live in this world, rather than kill him.” Singapore has already lifted a death sentence imposed on a Malaysian drug trafficker in a landmark verdict in In 2013, when judges handed down a life sentence on a man who had smuggled 47 grams of heroin into Singapore, rather than executes him.