Kuala Lumpur, Feb 16 (AP) Two death row inmates in Singapore lost another appeal on Wednesday against their pending execution on the grounds they were mentally disabled, but their family filed a fresh legal bid to save them.
Lawyer M.Ravi said Singapore’s High Court rejected an application to review the executions that had been scheduled for Wednesday but stayed the order pending an appeal hearing. The cases was immediately heard by the Court of Appeal, which then dismissed the plea, he said.
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“We have filed another application on the manner the death penalty has been administered in (Singapore) and the various breaches on right to life and unequal treatment,” Ravi wrote on Facebook. He said the new hearing was due on Thursday morning.
The two men, who were arrested for smuggling drugs into the country, will be the first to be executed since November 2019 if their sentences are upheld.
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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 only 67 — a level that is internationally recognised as an intellectual disability — while Roslan has a borderline range of intellectual functioning.
In 2017, a lower court judge found that the two had “displayed competence and comprehension” while carrying out the act they were sentenced for, according to the Transformative Justice Collective, an anti-death penalty movement 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.
“Following more than two years of no executions in 2020 and 2021, it is appalling that the Singapore government is planning to resume this cruel practice imminently,” Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement.
The death row cases have also put the spotlight on Singapore’s capital punishment for drug-related offenses.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the death penalty can only be imposed for the “most serious crimes,” which is interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing.
“We call on the government to commute their sentences, and to reform Singapore’s legislation to bring an end to the imposition of the death penalty,” she said. (AP)
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