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Malaysian facing execution in Singapore wins reprieve

A Malaysian man set to be executed in Singapore for drug trafficking was granted a reprieve, a day after the hanging of a mentally disabled man sparked an outcry
A Malaysian man set to be executed in Singapore for drug trafficking was granted a reprieve, a day after the hanging of a mentally disabled man sparked an outcry - Copyright AFP Roslan RAHMAN
A Malaysian man set to be executed in Singapore for drug trafficking was granted a reprieve, a day after the hanging of a mentally disabled man sparked an outcry - Copyright AFP Roslan RAHMAN

A Malaysian man set to be executed in Singapore for drug trafficking was granted a reprieve on Thursday, campaigners said, a day after the hanging of a mentally disabled man sparked an outcry.

Datchinamurthy Kataiah was scheduled to be hanged on Friday after several years on death row in the city-state, which has some of the world’s toughest anti-drugs laws.

But the 36-year-old won a bid to get the execution postponed because he has another case pending before the courts, activists said. 

That case, with other death row prisoners, relates to correspondence allegedly being copied and sent to authorities without their consent, anti-death penalty campaigner Kirsten Han said. 

There are hearings related to the case taking place next month. 

“This is a great relief, but not the end. Stays of execution are only temporary,” said Han.

Datchinamurthy was arrested in 2011 for allegedly trying to traffic about 45 grams (1.6 ounces) of heroin into Singapore. 

On Wednesday a mentally disabled Malaysian, Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who had been convicted of trafficking heroin into the city-state, was hanged. 

His case sparked a storm of criticism, with the United Nations, European Union and British billionaire Richard Branson among those condemning it. 

Supporters say he had an IQ of 69, a level recognised as a disability, and was coerced into committing the crime.

But authorities have defended pressing ahead with the execution. 

The city-state’s Central Narcotics Bureau said on Wednesday that Nagaenthran “knew what he was doing” and that the Singapore courts had found he did not have an intellectual disability.

Singapore resumed executions last month after a hiatus of more than two years, and activists fear authorities are set to embark on a wave of hangings.

Singapore insists capital punishment is an effective deterrent against crime and credits it for helping keep the city-state one of Asia’s safest places. 

The cases have sparked rare demonstrations in Singapore and on Monday, hundreds attended a protest against the hangings.

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