Mother in Singapore to see death-row son Nagaenthran for last time

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The mother of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian citizen, who is to be hanged this coming Wednesday for a drug-related offence, is in Singapore to visit her son one last time.

Her family told The Malaysian Insight Panchalai Supermaniam, 59, arrived in Singapore two days ago with the authorities there making special arrangements for her to navigate Covid-19 travel rules and secure all necessary approvals.

Nagaenthran’s oldest sister Sharmila said her mother will be allowed to go back and forth from the hotel to the prison without the mandatory quarantine.

The 35-year-old Sharmila said her mother, who works as a cleaner, is using her Deepavali leave to be with her son.

The family found out about the execution date on October 26 through the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore. Later that evening they received a call from Changi Prison to confirm the date.

“Initially we kept the news away from our mother. It was only three days ago we informed her what was happening to our brother.

“And even then, it was simply because my brother, Nagaenthran, wanted to see my mother one last time,” Sharmila said.

Sharmila, who is a housewife, could not travel with her mother as she has to take care of her three children in Ipoh, adding that one of her cousins accompanied her mother to Singapore.

Nagaentharan was arrested by Singapore police on April 22, 2009, for trafficking in 42.72gm of diamorphine and was given the death penalty by the republic’s high court on November 22, 2010. His appeal was rejected on June 1 last year.

On Wednesday Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the ministry had appealed to the Singapore court until the last stage, seeking a presidential pardon, but was rejected last year.

Saifuddin said he received letters from organisations such as the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network urging the Foreign Ministry to raise this issue with the Singapore government.

He said he sent a letter to the Singapore foreign minister and Wisma Putra will continue to monitor this case and extend consular help to Nagaenthran and his family.

Appeals for clemency were also made through international organisations that urged Singapore to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment after it was revealed that Nagaenthran suffers from intellectual disability.

The Harm Reduction International, the International Network of People who Use Drugs and the International Drug Policy Consortium with 27 other organisations and networks urged the republic to commute his sentence to life imprisonment.

They said this should be seen as the first step towards the abolition of the death penalty and towards drug policies that prioritise health and human rights.

The Bar Council had also sent a delegation of lawyers to the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to submit an appeal to the republic’s President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Speaking about her 32-year-old brother, Sharmila said once he had finished schooling, Nagaentharan moved to Johor to work as welder and that is when he got involved with drugs with his circle of friends there.

“In 2007, he was offered a job in Singapore as a security guard but he often came down to Johor to meet his friends,” she said, adding that the rest is history.

Sharmila added that the family is still hopeful that Singapore will commute the death sentence.

“We know there are only a couple of days left but we still remain hopeful there might be a change in sentence in the next few days.”

The Singapore-based Transformative Justice Collective held a crowdfunding campaign to fund the family’s flight expenses to Singapore to see him one last time.

The campaign managed to collect almost twice the targeted S$18,000 (RM55,442) amount.

The extra funds have been used for accommodation, meals, transport and RT-PCR tests for four family members, including Panchalai.

Funeral arrangements have also been budgeted for. – TMI