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Singapore court hears last-ditch bid to block duo’s hanging

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (AP) – A court in Singapore yesterday heard a last-ditch appeal from the family of two death row inmates believed to be mentally disabled, hours before they were scheduled to be executed.

The two men, arrested for smuggling drugs into the country, would be the first executions carried out by the island-state since November of 2019, if their sentence is upheld.

Singapore’s High Court heard the challenge to the sentence of hanging in the morning, a day after the Court of Appeal rejected an application to review and halt the execution, said Lawyers for Liberty group in Malaysia member N Surendran.

“We are waiting for the court’s decision,” he said, describing the execution as unconstitutional.

Malaysian Pausi Jefridin and Singaporean Roslan Bakar were sentenced to death in 2010, two years after being arrested. Lawyers and rights activists said 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 duo “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 national Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, whose scheduled hanging last November sparked widespread anger as 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 be heard in March.