PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has hit out at a Singapore police raid on the office of lawyer M Ravi, saying it is related to his vigorous defence of the rights of Malaysian death row prisoners in the republic.
It said the raid, which took place yesterday, was “highly prejudicial” to the pending cases of the Malaysians at Changi Prison.
In a statement today, LFL adviser N Surendran said Singapore police claimed to be investigating Ravi for contempt of court in relation to a case involving a Singaporean extradited from Malaysia, in which Ravi was acting as counsel.
He said Ravi’s phones and passport were seized.
“This is an act of blatant and illegal harassment and intimidation against Ravi, who was merely doing his duty as a lawyer.
“Ravi has been the repeated target of harassment and intimidation by the Singapore government and AG ever since he took up the cases of Malaysian drug mules on death row at Changi Prison.
“For example, as recently as February, the Singapore AG threatened to take action against Ravi during a court hearing in which he represented Malaysian death row prisoners Datchinamurthy Kataiah and Gobi Avedian,” he said.
Surendran said the latest action against the human rights lawyer came ahead of the hearing of a legal challenge filed by him in the Singapore Court of Appeal on behalf of Gobi.
He said Ravi had successfully reopened the drug mule’s case on grounds of serious miscarriage of justice, and the matter was scheduled to be heard on March 27.
“Until Ravi’s intervention, Gobi was facing imminent execution as all his appeals had been disposed of.
“With yesterday’s police action and impounding of passport, it is now uncertain whether Ravi will be allowed to argue the case,” he said.
Surendran said the seizing of Ravi’s passport was “clearly aimed at making it difficult for Ravi to meet the Malaysian families of prisoners as well as instructing Malaysian solicitors”.
“We call upon the Singapore government to cease all unlawful threats, police actions and intimidation against Ravi. We further urge Singapore to respect the Malaysian death row prisoners’ right to a fair hearing of their pending cases in the Singapore courts.
“We also urge the new Malaysian government to make the necessary representations to Singapore, to preserve and protect the rights of Malaysian prisoners,” he said.