Nagaenthran’s family to sue Singapore AG

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The family of intellectually challenged death row inmate Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam is set to sue Singapore Attorney-General Lucien Wong.

This is over alleged “negligence” by the city-state’s criminal justice system against the Malaysian inmate.

Contacted this afternoon, the family’s Singapore lawyer M Ravi said the suit will be filed sometime next week.

“What I have is the instruction (from) the family to sue the AG (Wong) over their negligence and willful disregard.

“After putting them on notice (about) Nagaenthran’s mental health, they should have just stopped and said ‘Okay, I’ll get someone to review’.

“(There has been a) willful disregard for human life. We will be suing. Nagaenthran and the family will be claiming damages as well,” he said.

Nagaenthran was sentenced to death in 2011 for trafficking 42.72g of diamorphine into Singapore. Heroin is made from diamorphine.

With a mild intellectual disability due to his lower-than-average IQ of 69, his lawyers argue that he has been denied due process. Singapore contends otherwise.

Nagaenthran’s lawyers have also noted a further decline in his mental health in recent weeks.

Ravi told Malaysiakini that he has been deferring to Nagaenthran’s family for legal instructions as he found the inmate incapable of “understanding” his current situation.

The 33-year-old was scheduled to hang on Nov 10 but was granted a stay of execution on Nov 8 after Ravi filed an 11th-hour constitutional challenge.

Nagaenthran later tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in a further extension of the stay until after he recovers and after the appellate court hears his case.

He is now receiving medical attention while interned and quarantined at Changi Prison.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has demanded Ravi remove two Facebook posts which it said constituted “contempt of court”.

One post was a Nov 5 Facebook Live video in which Ravi commented on the Nagaenthran case.

The other was a written post about a separate legal case from Oct 18.

The Singapore AGC demanded he take down the posts, issue a written apology, and post the apology on his Facebook account by 5pm on Nov 22.

The Nov 17 letter of demand, which Malaysiakini sighted, noted that these actions were “without prejudice to other legal remedies” which may be taken against him.

In response, Ravi denied making contemptuous comments in the video and will not be taking down his posts.

He characterised the Singapore AGC’s letter as an attempt to “pressure” him to withdraw from representing Nagaenthran.

“My concern is because of the international backlash, they want to actually pressurise (sic) me so that I withdraw from the case,” he opined.

Ravi said he will not be complying with the Singapore AGC’s demands.

“I do not want to dignify the AG (Wong) with a response,” he said.

Nagaenthran’s impending execution and mental condition have sparked an outcry from anti-death penalty, human rights, and legal groups.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has intervened on his behalf, as have UN experts and the European Union.

The case has garnered significant attention from international media like Vice, CNN, The Washington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Al Jazeera, and global news wire Associated Press. – Malaysiakini