AGC Responds to Repeated Attempts to Stop Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s Death Row

This morning marked the death of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, a Malaysian drug trafficker.

Nagaenthran, 33, had been on death row for 13 years due to multiple challenges to his death sentence.

False Allegations About Judge

Out of those were the false allegations made on Monday (25 Apr) that sought to cast aspersions on the involvement of Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon in the case, said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

In a statement released on Wednesday (27 Apr) after Nagaenthran was hanged, the AGC said it “takes a serious view of any act that may constitute contempt, and will not hesitate to take appropriate action to protect the administration of justice”.

Supposed to be Hanged in 2021

Nagaenthran was convicted of trafficking 42.72g of heroin in 2010 and given the mandatory death penalty.

He had exhausted his rights of appeal and was first scheduled to be hanged on 10 November last year, but filed a last-ditch application seeking to challenge his death sentence.

On 29 March, a five-judge Court of Appeal, led by Chief Justice Menon, rejected his bid, calling it a blatant and egregious “abuse of court’s processes”.

Mother Filed Last-Minute Application

Previously, Nagaenthran’s lawyers had claimed he was mentally disabled, but the court said there was no admissible evidence to support this.

The inmate’s execution was then rescheduled to 27 April, but his mother, Madam Panchalai Supermaniam, joined him in filing a last-minute application which asserted false allegations in order to halt the execution.

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Court papers filed on behalf of mother and son on Monday asserted that Chief Justice Menon ought not to have presided over Nagaenthran’s matters, as his tenure as Attorney-General overlapped with Nagaenthran’s prosecution.

This application was dismissed on Tuesday by a three-judge court, led by Justice Andrew Phang.

Multiple Attempts to Postpone Hanging

In Wednesday’s statement, the AGC said it was the seventh application, not including appeals, brought by Nagaenthran after his appeal against conviction was dismissed in 2011, more than 10 years ago.

“It is the latest attempt to abuse the court’s processes and unjustifiably delay the carrying into effect of the lawful sentence imposed on Nagaenthran,” said the statement.

The AGC noted that Madam Panchalai, in representing herself, claimed that her application and affidavit had been prepared and filed with the assistance of “friends and social activists”.

Latest Application Prepared Under Legal Advice

Reiterating its arguments before the court on Tuesday, the AGC said in the statement that the legal papers for this latest application were clearly prepared under legal advice.

The AGC noted that the correspondence e-mail address [email protected] provided by Madam Panchalai did not appear to be hers, and the legal papers had been signed by someone else.

The AGC noted that Nagaenthran had expressly confirmed in 2016, under legal advice, that he had no objections to Chief Justice Menon hearing his case. Hence, there was no basis for his mother’s application.

This confirmation, which is in the court’s records, was made after it had been specifically brought to his counsel’s attention that Chief Justice Menon’s tenure as Attorney-General overlapped with Nagaenthran’s criminal proceedings, said the AGC.

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