Singapore — Rapper Subhas Nair was charged in court on Monday (Nov 1) with four counts of attempting to promote feelings of ill-will between different groups on grounds of religion and race, and took the opportunity to highlight the plight of a man on death row, Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam.

Nagaenthran, a Malaysian national, faces execution on Nov 10.

A petition on the platform is appealing for his pardon, given the circumstances of his case. Nagaenthran was found to have an IQ of 69 and has borderline intellectual functioning. He was arrested for drug trafficking at the age of 21 and has been on death row for more than ten years.

He said at his trial that he had been coerced into committing the offence by a man who not only assaulted him but also threatened to kill his girlfriend.

Last Friday, a day after the Singapore Police Force announced that Mr Nair, 29, would be charged, the rapper tweeted, “Don’t let them use this as a distraction. 

Please keep organizing towards abolishing the death penalty & saving Nagaenthran’s life.”

On Monday, he appeared in court with his sister, Preetipls, wearing a shirt with Nagaenthran’s face printed on it.

Photo: FB screengrab/preetipls

Mr Nair also posted a screenshot of the petition on Instagram, appealing for more support.

“We must abolish the death penalty. No state should have the right to take a human life. Solidarity with Naga and his family.

Please sign the petition and keep speaking truth to power. Through collective action, we can achieve anything. ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾,” he wrote.

“The execution of a mentally ill person is prohibited under international human rights law, as well as under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD),” reads the petition appealing for Nagaenthran’s pardon. 

“Given that Nagaenthran is intellectually disabled; committed a non-violent crime; and was allegedly coerced by assaults and threats, we sincerely appeal for President Halimah Yacob to uphold Singapore’s commitment to the UNCRPD by pardoning Nagaenthran’s death sentence.”

Charges against the rapper

Mr Nair ran afoul of the law for allegedly breaching the conditions in the warning given him and Preetipls in 2019 following their release of a controversial video.

According to the police, “One of the terms of the warning stipulates that if he re-offends, he may be prosecuted for the offence for which he was warned, in addition to prosecution for the alleged fresh offences.”

If the rapper, who is represented by high-profile lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, is convicted of the fresh offences, he might have to pay a fine and serve as much as three years in jail.

He will be back in jail on Nov 29 and was offered bail of 10,000.

If Mr Nair is found guilty of attempting to promote feelings of ill will between different groups on grounds of religion or race, he faces a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years for each charge. /TISG

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