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A Malaysian man with learning disabilities lost a last-minute attempt to appeal his death sentence after Singapore’s top court rejected his request Tuesday, the Guardian reported.
Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam was arrested in 2009 for attempting to smuggle about 1.5 ounces of heroin into Singapore. He said he was coerced into carrying the package with narcotics and that he did not know what the contents were.
Since then, he has been on death row and was originally scheduled to be hanged in November. However, his death sentence was stayed due to an appeal.
Nagaenthran’s case has drawn a global outcry with human rights groups and lawyers saying that his execution is a violation of international law considering his intellectual disability.
An earlier court found that the Malaysian man had an IQ of 69, which indicates a learning disability, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the Associated Press.
Nagaenthran’s family, advocates and critics of the death penalty have called for the sentence to be stayed. Last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also asked his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, for leniency in the case.
But Singapore’s Court of Appeals said that he had been “afforded due process” and rejected his lawyer’s arguments that executing a mentally disabled person was illegal under international law.
Following the verdict, Nagaenthran’s execution could take place in a matter of days.
Singapore has one of the toughest drug laws in the world, which the government calls an effective deterrent.