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Singapore Rejects Last Appeal of Malaysian Man Facing Death Penalty Over Drug Charges

FILE - Activists attend a candlelight vigil against the impending execution of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, sentenced to death for trafficking heroin into Singapore, outside the Singaporean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

A mentally impaired Malaysian man who has been held for more than decade in Singapore on drug charges is one step closer to execution.

A court in the city-state Tuesday rejected a final appeal filed by lawyers for Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who has been on death row since 2010 for trafficking less than 43 grams of heroin into Singapore.

The court also rejected a request by Dharmalingam’s lawyers to delay his execution so he can undergo an independent psychiatric examination.

Anti-death penalty groups say Nagaenthran’s execution could be carried out very soon.

Dharmalingam’s imprisonment has attracted worldwide attention, with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson joining human rights activists in urging Singapore to either pardon him or commute his sentence to life in prison.

Maya Foa, the director of British-based human rights group Reprieve, issued a statement urging Singapore President Halimah Yacob “to listen to the cries of mercy within Singapore and around the world” and spare Dharmalingam’s life.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.