PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has slammed the Singapore government and accused it of persecuting lawyer M Ravi, who is representing Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian on death row in the city-state.
This comes after Ravi was fined S$10,000 by the disciplinary tribunal of Singapore’s law society following a complaint by the attorney-general there over a press conference held by the lawyer and LFL in July 2019.
At the press conference, Ravi had criticised Singapore for planning to execute Nagaenthran, who was convicted of drug trafficking, saying his client was mentally ill and, with an IQ of only 69, had little understanding of the situation he was in.
LFL adviser N Surendran said Singapore was targeting Ravi for speaking out and calling for justice for the Malaysian, adding that this was shocking and unacceptable.
In a statement today, he urged Singapore to retract the fine issued to Ravi and to nullify the finding of guilt accorded against him.
He said there should be no more attempts to interfere, intimidate or silence the lawyer.
“Ravi is the lawyer for Nagaenthran’s family. Hence, this is a serious interference by the Singapore authorities with Nagaenthran and his family’s right to legal advice and assistance.
“The baseless punishment meted out to Ravi by the Singapore authorities is in breach of international legal norms as well as Singapore’s own constitution.
“Article 9 of the Singapore constitution enshrines the right to a fair trial. Punishing Nagaenthran’s family lawyer for carrying out his duties jeopardises this right,” he said.
Surendran also called on Singapore to respect the rights of death row prisoners to seek legal advice and advocacy.
“We further urge the Malaysian government to make the necessary objections or representations to the Singapore government over the ongoing intimidation of the Nagaenthran family’s legal counsel,” he said.
Ravi’s office had been raided by Singapore police earlier this year, which LFL said was linked to his vigorous defence of the rights of Malaysian death row prisoners in the republic.