Court must force Putrajaya’s hand over Singapore death row inmate

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Surendran with Eswary (third from right) after filing the leave application for judicial review.

KUALA LUMPUR: Death row prisoner Prabagaran Srivijayan has turned to the Malaysian court to compel Putrajaya to start legal proceedings against Singapore before an international tribunal for denying him a fair trial.

The 29-year-old, who is on Singapore’s death row after being found guilty for drug trafficking, also wants a declaration from the court that Putrajaya is obliged to protect his life and freedom.

In his leave application for judicial review today, Prabagaran named the foreign minister and the Malaysian government as respondents.

Meanwhile, lawyer N Surendran said this application was unprecedented as his client and family members had exhausted all avenues to stop the execution from being carried out anytime now.

He said there was also a precedent before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004 when a 15-man bench decided on a dispute between Mexico and the United States of America.

The ICJ found that the US had breached its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in not allowing legal representation from the Mexican consulate to meet with Mexican citizens arrested and imprisoned for crimes in the US.

Surendran said his client had turned to the ICJ as the obligation to provide a fair trial was part of customary international law which bound all states.

“But I hope both governments will act on this case as our letters to the authorities have not been acted upon to save Prabagaran’s life,” said Surendran, who is also the Padang Serai MP.

Prabagaran was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint as he tried to enter the country.

He has maintained his innocence, claiming that he did not own the car he drove and was not aware of the drugs being in it.

Prabagaran had, during the trial, claimed that he did not know of the existence of the drugs in the car, which he said he had borrowed from a man called Nathan.

Prabagaran’s mother, V Eswary has filed an affidavit in support of her son’s application.