The Demise Penalty is Morally indefensible
This text is written in rememberance of Nagaenthran A/L Okay Dharmalingam who used to be performed via the State of Singapore on 22 April 2022; Nagaenthran who had the IQ of 69 was convicted in 2009 via the Top Courtroom of Singapore for uploading with intent of trafficking 42.72 grams of diamorphine and had spent greater than a decade on loss of life row.
Nagaenthran used to be assessed via psychiatrists to own an IQ of 69, a degree of intelligence indicative of finding out incapacity.
As Human Rights Watch notes, ‘an I.Q. within the 60 to 70 vary is roughly the scholastic similar to the 3rd grade.'(See George S. Baroff, Psychological Retardation: Nature, Motive and Control, third ed.(Philadelphia, Pa.: Brunner-Routledge, 1999). The Demise Penalty and Offenders with Psychological Retardation | HRW.
To place it bluntly, Nagaenthran will have possessed the psychological age of a kid between the ages of 9 to twelve years NHSGGC : Severity of Studying Disabilities , but he were adjudged via the State to own the culpable psychological state of an grownup deserving the loss of life penalty for drug trafficking.
To the intelligentsia, perceiving the arena via a dispassionate, purpose review of the info, Nagaenthran used to be a rational, calculative drug perpetrator who knew the adaptation between proper and fallacious, liked the character of his acts, and weighed the hazards in opposition to some great benefits of smuggling heroin;
But, to an individual with borderline psychological incapacity the arena is looked as if it would be an overly other position, a spot of struggles and pressure, problematized via psychological well being problems impairing cognitve functioning, together with perceptions of chance.
Imagine the skilled perspectives of 2 eminent psychiatrists, Jannelien Wieland and Frans G. Zitman:
”’other folks with borderline highbrow functioning, or an IQ between 70 and 85, do contain a prone crew……they face difficulties throughout all spaces of peculiar existence.”
”They’re at larger chance of experiencing bodily issues, poverty, have extra difficulties with actions of day-to-day dwelling, have restricted social beef up and no get entry to to specialized products and services. They continuously reside problematic lives, functioning beneath prime pressure however not noted via the remainder of society.”
”they’re extra prone to the advance of psychological well being issues than other folks of reasonable or above reasonable intelligence and can be extra prone than other folks with delicate highbrow incapacity.”
”A number of research display larger chance for the advance of virtually all psychiatric issues in formative years in addition to in maturity, together with substance misuse and persona issues.”
(It’s time to carry borderline highbrow functioning again into the principle fold of classification programs – PMC (nih.gov) Jannelien Wieland, psychiatrist, Kristal Centre for Psychiatry and Highbrow Incapacity, Rivierduinen, Leiden, and Frans G. Zitman is emeritus professor on the Division of Psychiatry, Leiden College Clinical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands).
A psychiatrist who assessed Nagaenthran‘s psychological state, Dr. Ung Eng Khean, testified in courtroom that ”Nagaenthran suffered from “an abnormality of thoughts on the time of his arrest, particularly:
Serious Alcohol Use Dysfunction, Serious Consideration Deficit Hyperactivity Dysfunction (ADHD), Blended Sort and Borderline Highbrow Functioning/Gentle Highbrow Incapacity”. Remark at the Drawing close Execution of Nagaenthran Okay Dharmalingam – Transformative Justice Collective
Amnesty Global additional famous:
”Clinical professionals who assessed Nagaenthran in 2013, 2016 and 2017 discovered that he has borderline functioning intelligence and concurrent cognitive deficits, which “will have contributed towards his misdirected loyalty and deficient review of the hazards in agreeing to hold out the offence”. Singapore: Abhorrent hangings should finish as guy with highbrow incapacity performed – Amnesty Global
The Global Drug Coverage Consortium launched a remark urging the State to halt the execution. They argued that Nagaenthran’s I.Q. of 69–
”meets the world usual for highbrow incapacity, and his functioning abilities (together with verbal fluency, summary reasoning, and downside fixing) are impaired.” Joint remark urging Singapore to halt coming near near execution of Nagaenthran Okay Dharmalingam for a drug offence (idpc.internet)
Additional Global outcry over the approaching execution used to be reported via the Global media, together with The Mum or dad which mentioned:
‘A bunch of eleven British MPs and friends have written to the Singaporean prime commissioner, asking that Dharmalingam’s existence be spared.‘
‘Within the letter, they state they have got realized that Dharmalingam is “apparently ignorant of the truth he faces execution, because of his psychological situation, and that he’s hallucinating, incoherent, and imagining his jail cellular as a lawn by which he’s protected”.Singapore: indefinite keep of execution for guy with finding out disabilities after he will get Covid | Singapore | The Mum or dad
This very actual risk that Nagaenthran will have lacked cognitve consciousness of the approaching truth of being performed is additional iterated via the UN Particular Rapporters:
“We also are involved that his previous 11 years on loss of life row has reportedly led to additional deterioration of his psychological well being.” OHCHR | Singapore: UN professionals urge halt to execution of drug perpetrator with disabilities
To hold out the execution of a person who had languished in a solitary jail cellular for over a decade, a person who won’t simplest were mentally ignorant of his coming near near execution, but additionally oblivious to the instances which ended in his keep on loss of life row-–
rarely accord’s with the perception of due process-
the suitable of a person to be sure that his her criminal rights are revered and secure via the State.
I argue that Nagaenthran will have to were afforded the due job procedural proper to go through additional impartial psychiatric review to resolve his present psychological well being and state of mind previous to his execution.
To deprive a person of his very existence with out guarenteeing him his due job rights to procedural accomodation for his incapacity is a travesty of justice,–
And a contravention of Global legislation as enshrined within the Conference at the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities 2006 ( CRPD):
Article 10 – Proper to existence states:
‘States Events reaffirm that each human being has the inherent proper to existence and shall take all important measures to make sure its efficient enjoyment via individuals with disabilities on an equivalent foundation with others.‘ Conference at the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities (CRPD) | United International locations Allow
Amnesty Global writes:
”The treaty our bodies for the Conference of Rights of Individuals with Disabilities (CRPD), to which Singapore is a celebration to, prohibits the imposition of the loss of life penalty on other folks whose psychological and highbrow disabilities have impeded their efficient defence.” Singapore: Abhorrent hangings should finish as guy with highbrow incapacity performed – Amnesty Global
The Global Group has wondered whether or not Nagaenthran were afforded due job procedural accomodations via the State.
The next UN impartial professionals launched statements calling for the State to halt Nagaenthran’s execution:
Morris Tidball-Binz Particular Rapporteur on extrajudicial, abstract or arbitrary executions;
Felipe González Morales, Particular Rapporteur at the human rights of migrants;
Nils Melzer, Particular Rapporteur on torture and different merciless, inhuman or degrading remedy or punishment,
Gerard Quinn, Particular Rapporteur at the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities and-
Tlaleng Mofokeng, Particular Rapporteur at the proper to bodily and psychological well being
”We’re involved that Mr. Nagaenthran a/l Okay Dharmalingam didn’t have get entry to to procedural lodging for his incapacity all through his interrogation.”
‘‘We additional spotlight that loss of life sentences should now not be performed on individuals with critical psychosocial and highbrow disabilities.”
”Below world legislation, nations that have retained the loss of life penalty might simplest impose it for essentially the most critical crimes, this is, the ones involving intentional killing, the human rights professionals additionally wired.”
“Drug similar offences don’t meet this threshold,” they stated. “Resorting to this kind of punishment to forestall drug trafficking isn’t just unlawful beneath world legislation, it’s also useless. There’s a loss of any persuasive proof that the loss of life penalty contributes greater than every other punishment to removing drug trafficking.” OHCHR | Singapore: UN professionals urge halt to execution of drug perpetrator with disabilities
This argument raised via the Particular Rapportuers that ”loss of life sentences should now not be performed on individuals with critical psychosocial and highbrow disabilities” is underpinned via the UN Declaration at the Rights of Disabled Individuals 1975 :
‘‘Disabled individuals have the inherent proper to appreciate for his or her human dignity. Disabled individuals, regardless of the beginning, nature and seriousness in their handicaps and disabilities, have the similar basic rights as their fellow-citizens of the similar age, which suggests initially the suitable to revel in a tight existence, as customary and entire as imaginable.” OHCHR | Declaration at the Rights of Disabled Individuals
Global legislation, because the UN Particular Rapporteurs provide an explanation for, in particular prohibits the usage of the loss of life apart from for ‘essentially the most critical crimes based on the legislation‘. ( notice Artwork. 6, para. 2 of the Global Covenant of Civil and Politica Rights ICCPR).
The time period ‘maximum critical crime’ has been interpreted via Human Rights professionals and organizations comparable to Amnesty Global to be limited to intentional killings. Demise Penalty – Amnesty Global
But, retentionist States proceed to invoke the loss of life penalty as the solution to a presumptive ‘existential’ danger posed via drug traffickers to society , arguing that trafficking may just spoil numerous lives.
The attainableity of substances for destroying lives stays simply that….
a possible this is continuously now not actualized in reality (due partly to efficient drug legislation enforcement measures),
however evinced in political naratives emphasising the utilitarian issues of those that presume a deterrent impact related to Capital punishment, one that is in large part unsupported via empirical information.
Criminological and Sociological professionals, Radelet and Akers argued:
“Our survey signifies that the majority of the arena’s best criminologists imagine that the empirical analysis has printed the deterrence speculation for a delusion.
In brief, the consensus amongst criminologists is that the loss of life penalty does now not upload any important deterrent impact above that of long-term imprisonment.‘(Radelet and Lacock, (2008-2009) Do Executions Decrease Murder Charges: The Perspectives of Main Criminologists’ (northwestern.edu)
As I’ve argued in a prior essay, the query of whether or not a society has a tendency to include or reject political narratives comparable to -the ‘loss of life penalty works’ or is an ‘efficient deterrent’ in opposition to attainable murderers and drug traffickers –
is, as Garland posits, to a point contingent upon its cultural, historic and political context, fairly than on any presumed axiomatic fact concerning the legitimacy of Capital punishment. David Garland, Punishment and Fashionable Society: A Learn about in Social Concept, 2012, College of Chicago Press
The socialization of people inside explicit cultures in ways in which make them combine sure cognitive frameworks of considering supportive of the loss of life penalty, —
might in flip situation their emotional responses and rationalizations on the usage of Capital punishment, responses strengthened and affirmed via the technocrats of Penality through the years.
I argue that executing a drug trafficker with the intention to to steer clear of a hypothetical risk of substances killing different addicts is a grossly disproportionate and unjustifiable coverage and penal reaction, —
since offenders are killed for a political goal, fairly than for in truth taking the lifetime of every other.
an unjustifiable reaction, as drug offenders like legislation abiding residents possess basic and inviolable human rights to existence and appreciate for human dignity identified via Global legislation:
The Forfeiture of 1’s proper to existence can’t be justified via political issues.
The Prohibition on the use of the Demise Penalty in Global Legislation
David Garland reminds us that for the reason that 1980’s there was increasingly ‘anti-death penalty provisions ….. embodied in human rights conventions, transnational treaties and world legislation.’ (Garland 2010, Abnormal Establishment).
Those Global Human rights tools come with:
”Protocols 6 and 13 of the Ecu Conference of Human Rights (1983 and 2002) (which) restrict the loss of life penalty, —
as do the United International locations’ second Not obligatory Protocol to the Global Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ( ICCPR), which used to be passsed in 1989, —
and the American Conference on Human Rights Protocol to Abolish the Demise Penalty, followed in 1990 via the Common Meeting of the Organisation of American States.’‘ (Garland 2010, Abnormal Establishment).
The juridyfing of the loss of life penalty via minority of Country States invoking their sovereign rights to resolve loss of life as a politically or judicially sanctioned punishment for drug trafficking —
has no criminal foundation in Global legislation;
And is in stark opposition to the ethical and legal norms respecting human existence and appreciate for dignity exemplified via the vast majority of Sovereign States comprising the Global Group.(Be aware: Amnesty Global’s findings: On the finish of 2020, 108 nations (a majority of the arena’s states) had abolished the loss of life penalty in legislation for all crimes and 144 nations had abolished the loss of life penalty in legislation or follow.)
But, because the famend Criminologist, David Garland reminds us:
‘....there may be the jurisprudential problem of subjecting a discretionary subjective, ethical resolution – who will have to reside and who will have to die? – to the self-discipline of laws.‘ (Garland 2010, p.264, Abnormal Establishment).
Is it even morally permissible for societies to juridify the act of killing a human being, —
to offer it the illusion of legality via embedding it in criminal laws, —
whilst making an attempt to retain requirements of decency anticipated of civilized societies?
Or, is ‘the guideline of legislation’ and ‘the ability of the States to kill in irreconcilable struggle?(Garland 2010, p.264, Abnormal Establishment),—
in that the guideline of legislation derives its legitimacy now not simply from its legislative origins or the desire of the Legislation makers , however from its normative capability to give protection to the human rights of all people (What’s the Rule of Legislation? | International Justice Undertaking), together with the ones of essentially the most prone in society such because the mentally disabled.
Wieland, Jannelien, and Frans G Zitman. “It’s time to carry borderline highbrow functioning again into the principle fold of classification programs.” BJPsych bulletin vol. 40,4 (2016): 204-6. doi:10.1192/pb.bp.115.051490
Singapore: Abhorrent hangings should finish as guy with highbrow incapacity performed – Amnesty Global
The Demise Penalty and Offenders with Psychological Retardation | HRW.
NHSGGC : Severity of Studying Disabilities
Remark at the Drawing close Execution of Nagaenthran Okay Dharmalingam – Transformative Justice Collective
Joint remark urging Singapore to halt coming near near execution of Nagaenthran Okay Dharmalingam for a drug offence (idpc.internet)
Singapore: indefinite keep of execution for guy with finding out disabilities after he will get Covid | Singapore | The Mum or dad
OHCHR | Singapore: UN professionals urge halt to execution of drug perpetrator with disabilities
OHCHR | Declaration at the Rights of Disabled Individuals
OHCHR | Singapore: UN professionals urge halt to execution of drug perpetrator with disabilities
Demise Penalty – Amnesty Global
Do Executions Decrease Murder Charges: The Perspectives of Main Criminologists’ (northwestern.edu)
David Garland, Punishment and Fashionable Society: A Learn about in Social Concept, 2012, College of Chicago Press
Garland 2010, Abnormal Establishment: The us’s Demise Penalty in an Age of Abolition, Harvard College Press, Cambridge, MA, 2010.