Death row prisoner in Singapore turns to Malaysian court

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

Factory worker K Datchinamurthy, who was found guilty of 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, the 32-year-old named the foreign minister and the Malaysian government as respondents.

He is also asking for any other relief deemed fit by the court

Datchinamurthy’s mother, A Letchumi, has affirmed an affidavit in support of her son’s application.

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

The human rights lawyer said there was a 2004 precedent before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the decision by a 15-man bench 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 binds all states.

Datchinamurthy lost his final appeal in the Singapore Court of Appeal on Feb 5 last year.

On Nov 18, 2011, the accused together with Singaporean J Christeen were arrested by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers for a drug offence.

Two years ago, the High Court sentenced both of them to death after finding them guilty of trafficking 44.96g of diamorphine, an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

However, Christeen was spared the death sentence as she had provided “substantive assistance” to the CNB.

“I believe Christeen was subject to different treatment despite both being convicted of the same offence in the High Court,” Letchumi said.

She said her son had exhausted all domestic legal remedies in the island republic and a clemency petition had received no response from the Singapore president.

Letchumi said the provisions in the Misuse of Drugs Act went against the doctrine of separation of powers, breach of the fundamental rule of natural justice and went against the Singapore Constitution.

“Save my son, save my son from the gallows. He is not a terrorist,” she said.

Singapore human rights non-governmental organisation president Leong Sze Hian, who was present, said latest statistics revealed there are 24 people on death row and nine are Malaysians.

“I believe two have already been executed,” said Leong.

Also present was Datchinamurthy’s former counsel M Ravi, who is a prominent human rights activist.

On Jan 16, Prabagaran Srivijayan, who is waiting to be hanged for drug trafficking, also filed a similar application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.