CNB reiterates that executed drug trafficker Nagaenthran wasn't intellectually disabled

The Singapore courts judged that the sentenced man knew what he was doing.

Belmont Lay | April 28, 2022, 05:14 PM

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The Central Narcotics Bureau in Singapore has put up a Facebook post on April 28 to reiterate that executed drug trafficker Nagaenthran A/L Dharmalingam, 34, was not intellectually disabled.

So far, the insistence that he was intellectually disabled was put forth by those who tried to get his death sentence commuted.

CNB's post came a day after Nagaenthran was hanged in Changi Prison Complex in the early morning of April 27.

What CNB reiterated

In its post, CNB reiterated four facts.

It said Nagaenthran was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint carrying nearly 0.5kg of a powdery substance that contained at least 42g of pure heroin that was strapped to his thigh.

He was convicted and sentenced on Nov. 22, 2010, and had several applications and appeals against his conviction and sentence heard and rejected by the courts in Singapore over the years.

A psychiatrist called by the defence on Nagaenthran’s behalf had agreed in court that the accused was not intellectually disabled.

The assertion that Nagaenthran possessed the mental age of a person below 18 years of age was put forth by his lawyer in 2021, who then refused to consent to have Nagaenthran’s latest medical and psychiatric reports placed before the court.

CNB issued longer statement a day earlier

The post also pointed to a longer statement issued by CNB a day earlier after Nagaenthran was executed.

The statement said: "There has been much misinformation that has been put out in relation to Nagaenthran, in particular on his mental state. The above are the facts, as found by the courts."

The statement also highlighted that the Singapore courts had determined that Nagaenthran's behaviour when he was about to get caught for trafficking at that time showed that he was “capable of manipulation and evasion”.

He attempted to stop a search of his belongings by appealing to the social perception of the trustworthiness of security officers by saying he was "working in security".

He was also noted to have “continuously" altered his account of his education qualifications to lower it each time he was interviewed.

The CNB statement concluded with the observation that capital punishment was also recently carried out in the United States where the persons on death row had IQ ranges similar to Nagaenthran.

CNB wrote: "It should be noted that in the U.S., two persons were executed in October 2021. They had IQ ranges of 64–72 and 63–95 respectively, similar to Nagaenthran. The U.S. Courts dismissed arguments relating to their alleged intellectual disability."

AGC refutes claims as well

The Attorney-General’s Chambers separately has also refuted claims on April 27 morning, following the execution, that Nagenthran’s process was unfair, and denied that there were conflicts of interest in the proceedings.

In the last-minute April 25 motion filed by Nagaenthran and his mother Panchalai Supermaniam, supposedly with the help of friends and social activists, they sought a stay of execution and argued that it was unconstitutional to carry out the death sentence because Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who presided over Nagaenthran’s previous failed appeals, was also the Attorney-General during his conviction.

The court on Tuesday heard the criminal motion and noted that Chief Justice Menon was not involved in any decisions pertaining to Nagaenthran’s prosecution during his tenure as Attorney-General from Oct. 1, 2010 to June 24, 2012.

The AGC added that Nagaethran had no objections in 2016 to Chief Justice Menon hearing his matters.

It was brought to Nagaethran’s counsel’s attention at that time that Chief Justice Menon’s tenure as Attorney-General overlapped with their client’s criminal proceedings.

The AGC also noted that the last-ditch application on Monday was the seventh such application, not including appeals, that was brought by Nagaenthran after his appeal against conviction was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2011.

Top photo via activists