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Singapore must halt execution of mentally disabled Malaysian

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Lawyers for Liberty refers to reports that Singapore will be proceeding with the execution of mentally disabled Malaysian citizen, Pausi bin Jefridin, on Wednesday, 16 February.

Pausi, who has an IQ of only 67, clearly comes within the threshold of persons with intellectual disability and thus comes within the protection of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Since Singapore has acceded to the convention, proceeding with the execution would mean that it is deliberately disregarding its international obligations.

Despite the international backlash that the Singaporean government received in November 2021 when they wanted to execute mentally disabled Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, they remain indifferent to civilised world opinion by once again planning to hang another mentally disabled person.

Time and time again, Singapore is wilfully ignoring its international obligations. Imposing the death penalty on persons with mental disability is contrary to customary international law, inhumane and sickening. Both international law and the Singapore constitution prohibits the execution of anyone who suffers from a mental disorder.

To aggravate the matter, the Singapore government only informed Pausi’s family of the execution on 9 February, barely seven days before the execution date, despite knowing full well that the Covid pandemic is far from over, inevitably causing great difficulties to travel to Singapore due to the stringent restrictions. This rush to execute an intellectually disabled person is unfathomable.

Further, Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s court challenge, which has raised important questions on the legality of executing a mentally disabled person with an IQ below 70, is still pending in court.

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Hence, Pausi, who suffers from the same condition, must not be executed whilst Nagaenthran’s appeal has yet to be decided. It is totally unacceptable to carry out this execution while the courts have yet to decide on the critical legal and constitutional issues surrounding the execution of mentally disabled persons.

We further note that Roslan Bakar, a Singaporean citizen with a borderline range of intellectual functioning, is also to be hanged on the same day.

We therefore urge the Singapore government to halt Pausi Jefridin’s and Roslan Bakar’s executions immediately, review his case thoroughly and consider the exercise of presidential clemency in light of their mental disability and Singapore’s treaty obligations under the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. – LfL

Zaid Malek and Mahajoth Singh are from Lawyers for Liberty

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