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Global outcry at ruling to execute man with IQ of 69

Singapore is facing international pressure to stop the imminent execution of an intellectually disabled heroin smuggler, after rejecting a final appeal and refusing to hold an independent review.

Unless he is given clemency Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a 34-year-old Malaysian, will be put to death soon, despite a wealth of evidence from his lawyers and family of his mental impairment. Expert tests for the defence during his trial showed that he had an IQ of 69.

Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009, at the age of 21, with less than 43g (1.5 ounces) of heroin, which had a street value of a few thousand dollars, strapped to his thigh as he entered Singapore. His lawyers say that he agreed to be a “mule” after a smuggler in Malaysia threatened violence against him and his girlfriend.

In 2010 he was found guilty and given the death penalty, which is mandatory for drug trafficking in Singapore, although exemptions can be made for the intellectually impaired. A succession of appeals courts have rejected the claim that he should be spared execution.

“Nagaenthran should be protected from the death penalty because of his intellectual disability,” said Maya Foa, director of the campaigning organisation, Reprieve. “Allowing this travesty of justice to take place would fly in the face of those promises.”

Read the full story at the Times