Group slams charges against lawyer of Malaysian on death row in Singapore

Lawyers for Liberty adviser N Surendran.

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has urged Singapore to drop charges against the lawyer of a Malaysian on death row for drug trafficking in the city-state, accusing the government there of wanting to “hang Malaysians without giving them the benefit of proper legal representation”.

LFL adviser N Surendran said Singaporean lawyer M Ravi, who represents Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, was served with a notice of action by the Singapore attorney-general (AG) yesterday for allegedly prejudicing the administration of justice.

“The AG has filed a complaint on those grounds to the Singapore Law Society, which is likely to result in Ravi being barred from legal practice,” he said.

“In addition, contempt of court charges may also be brought against Ravi.”

In a statement, Surendran said the complaint against Ravi arose from a statement he had issued in Malaysia on July 23 in his capacity as the lawyer for Nagaenthran’s family.

He added that Nagaenthran, whose final appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal last year, is mentally impaired.

“Ravi has been fighting a vigorous battle to save Nagaenthran’s life on grounds that it is in breach of international legal norms to hang a person who suffers from mental disability.

“For courageously defending a mentally impaired Malaysian citizen, Ravi now stands to lose his licence to practise law.”

Surendran last month accused Singapore of targeting Malaysian prisoners for capital punishment.

He also spoke of “serial hanging” in the republic after 10 inmates at Changi prison, including four Malaysians convicted of drug-related offences, had their clemency petitions rejected.

Singapore however denied targeting Malaysians, saying it applies the laws “equally” to both local and foreign offenders.

“Regardless of nationality, all offenders, including prisoners sentenced to death, are accorded full due process under the law,” said the home affairs ministry.