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Singapore Executes Drug Smuggler Despite Concerns Over Mental Disability

A Malaysian man convicted of smuggling drugs into Singapore was executed Wednesday despite appeals from human rights advocates and global business leaders who said he should be spared because he suffered from a mental disability.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, was executed by hanging, according to his attorney, M. Ravi. He was caught in 2009 with about 1.5 ounces of heroin strapped to his thigh as he entered Singapore from Malaysia.

His lawyers and rights groups said that Mr. Nagaenthran suffered from an intellectual disability and was not fully capable of understanding his actions and that he was coerced into carrying the drugs.

Among those who urged Singapore to stay his execution were Malaysia’s prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob; the British billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson; and the Malaysian entrepreneur and chief executive of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes. More than 100,000 people signed a petition urging Singapore’s president, Halimah Yacob, to pardon him.

“Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s name will go down in history as the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, one of the rights groups. “Hanging an intellectually disabled, mentally unwell man because he was coerced into carrying less than three tablespoons of diamorphine is unjustifiable and a flagrant violation of international laws.” Read the full story in The New York Times.