Singapore court hears final bid to block duo’s hanging

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Singapore court heard a last-ditch appeal on Wednesday from the families of two death row inmates suspected of being mentally disabled, hours before their execution.

The two men, who were arrested for drug trafficking in the country, would be the first executions carried out by the island state since November 2019, if their sentence is upheld.

Singapore’s High Court heard the challenge to the hanging sentence in the morning, a day after the Court of Appeal rejected a request to review and halt the execution scheduled for Wednesday, N. Surendran said , a member of the Lawyers for Liberty group in Malaysia. .

“We are awaiting the court’s decision,” he said, calling the execution unconstitutional.

Malaysian Pausi Jefridin and Singaporean Roslan Bakar were sentenced to death in 2010, two years after their arrest. Lawyers and rights activists say Pausi has an IQ of just 67 – a level internationally recognized as intellectual disability – while Roslan has a borderline range of intellectual functioning.

In 2017, a lower court judge found that the duo had “shown skill and understanding” when carrying out the act for which they were convicted, according to the Transformative Justice Collective, an anti-terrorism movement. -death penalty in Singapore.

The case resembles that of Malaysian national Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, whose scheduled hanging last November sparked widespread anger as he is believed to be mentally disabled with an IQ of 69. His appeal to the highest court was postponed after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and is due to be heard in March.

“After more than two years without executions in 2020 and 2021, it is appalling that the Singapore government is considering resuming this cruel practice imminently,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, researcher at Amnesty International in Singapore, said in a statement.

Death row cases have also shed light on Singapore’s capital punishment for drug offences.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the death penalty can only be imposed for the “most serious crimes”, which are interpreted as crimes of a extreme gravity involving intentional homicide.

“We call on the government to commute their sentences and reform Singapore law to end the imposition of the death penalty,” she said.

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