A mentally impaired Malaysian man has been executed on drug trafficking charges in Singapore despite appeals from human rights activists and celebrities to spare his life.

The family of 34-year-old Nagaenthran Dharmalingam says he was hanged before dawn early Wednesday, hours after a court rejected a last-ditch legal challenge brought by his mother. The family broke down in tears after the court’s decision.

Nagaenthran had been on death row in Singapore since 2010 for trafficking less than 43 grams of heroin into the city/state, which has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. His lawyers and anti-death penalty advocates said he had an intelligence quotient or IQ score of 69, a level recognized as a disability.

But Singapore’s courts ruled that Nagaenthran was aware of his actions when he was arrested.

His case attracted worldwide attention, with the European Union, 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 saying Nagaenthran was “the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice” and accused Singapore of a “flagrant violation of international laws.”

Nagaenthran’s family said his body will be returned to Malaysia where a funeral will be held in his hometown.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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