Singapore president stops execution of 2 death row inmates

Their pending execution has sparked an outcry among rights groups because of their reported disabilities



People sit in a cabin on the Singapore Flyer observatory wheel overlooking the skyline of the central business district in Singapore in this July 16, 2015 file photo. Photo: Reuters
People sit in a cabin on the Singapore Flyer observatory wheel overlooking the skyline of the central business district in Singapore in this July 16, 2015 file photo. Photo: Reuters

By AP

Published: Thu 17 Feb 2022, 3:46 PM

A lawyer says Singapore’s president has ordered a delay in the execution of two men on death row who are believed to be mentally disabled

Singapore’s president has ordered a delay in the execution of two men sentenced to death who are believed to be mentally disabled, a lawyer said Thursday.

The order from President Halimah Yacob came after lawyers for the two men filed a new legal bid to stop their hanging after losing several previous appeals. The two, who were convicted of smuggling drugs into the country, originally were to be executed on Wednesday.

Ravi Madasamy, a member of the law firm handling the case, wrote on Facebook that the president stayed the execution of both men. No other details or reasons were given, but their pending execution has sparked an outcry among rights groups because of their reported disabilities.

The men would be the first to be executed in Singapore since November 2019.

Malaysian Pausi Jefridin and Singaporean Roslan Bakar were sentenced to death in 2010, two years after being arrested. Lawyers and rights activists say Pausi has an IQ of 67 — a level that is internationally recognized as an intellectual disability — while Roslan in in the borderline range of intellectual functioning.

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In 2017, a lower court judge found that the two had “displayed competence and comprehension” while carrying out the act for which they were convicted, according to the Transformative Justice Collective, an anti-death penalty group in Singapore.

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

The death row cases have placed a spotlight on the use of capital punishment for drug-related offenses in Singapore. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has joined in calls to commute the men’s death sentences, saying the death penalty should only be imposed for the “most serious crimes.”


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