S'porean drug trafficker, 64, hanged on Jul. 22 after last-minute stay of execution appeal dismissed

The judge said the appeal was "clearly an abuse of process".

Fiona Tan | July 22, 2022, 10:45 AM

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The Court of Appeal on Jul. 21 dismissed the last-minute appeal made by death row inmate, Nazeri bin Lajim, for a stay of execution.

He was hanged at 6am on Jul. 22.

Appeared in court on Jul. 21

The 64-year-old Singaporean had filed his application to the Court of Appeal and appeared in court via video link.

He was bald, in a white top, and wore round spectacles with a thick black frame.

He was unrepresented and spoke in Malay when he made his case through a court interpreter.

Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong, Justice Tay Yong Kwang and Justice Belinda Ang presided over the hearing.

Activists, Kirsten Han, Jolovan Wham and Kokila Annamalai, attended the hearing alongside a few members of the public.

The death row inmate's family members were not in the courtroom.

Pleaded for stay of execution and more time

Nazeri pleaded for the judges to stay his execution and said he would need some time to seek legal counsel as his former legal counsel M Ravi is currently not practising law.

Nazeri added that he had a "big family" and some of his 10 siblings have yet to visit him, and there were some who were out of town.

He told the judges to exercise their "honest compassion" in granting him his appeal, adding that a stay of execution by "one to two weeks" would provide him with a "sense of relief".

Court dismissed application

The court stood down for nearly two hours to deliberate before Judge Phang delivered the Court of Appeal decision's to dismiss Nazeri's application.

Judge Phang noted that Nazeri filed his original application three days ago on Jul. 19, after he had been notified of his execution date, and was time-barred, which meant it was submitted past the acceptable window period.

Saying that there is no reason why the application could not have been filed earlier, Justice Phang found that it was "clearly an abuse of process" to "frustrate" Nazeri's execution from being carried out on the its Jul. 22 scheduled date.

Justice Phang said the court would consider the appellants' attempts to seek legal counsel, if they were reasonable, but stressed that Nazeri's appeals were "entirely devoid of factual basis".

"Legal assistance would not give factual substratum to a case which has none to begin with."

Justice Phang also said Nazeri has been afforded due process in a fair manner in accordance with the law, adding: "There must come a point in time that the appellant accepts the consequences of his actions."

After the judgement was delivered, Nazeri pleaded to the judges through his interpreter, saying: "Why can't I even be given a stay of one to two weeks?"

He begged for their compassion and said: "Please exercise some sympathy on me, I know that I am an elderly person. I know I have to die."

Justice Phang responded and said that the Court of Appeal's decision was made in accordance with the law.

"I am afraid that there’s nothing that we can do, the decision is final."

Found in possession of 35.41g of diamorphine

Nazeri was found in possession of two bundles of drugs containing not less than 35.41g of diamorphine on Apr. 13, 2012, according to court documents.

The court made an amendment to the amount of diamorphine, or heroin, during Nazeri's conviction.

The amount of diamorphine was reduced from 35.41g to 33.39g as Nazeri claimed that he intended to keep some of the drugs for his own personal consumption, according to court documents.

Scheduled to be hanged on Jul. 22

He was convicted of trafficking not less than 33.39g of diamorphine in 2017 and sentenced to death on Sep. 21 in the same year.

He made appeals to the court in July 2018 and April 2021, both of which were dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

At least two pleas for clemency for Nazeri has been submitted, and the most recent one was delivered by his younger sister, Nazira bin Lajim, to the Istana.

This was rejected on May 6, 2022.

Nazeri's family was notified on Jul. 15 that his execution had been scheduled, according to lawyer M Ravi and social activist Kirsten Han.

Nazeri bin Lajim is the fifth person to be hanged in Singapore in 2022.

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Top image from @kixes/Twitter