SINGAPORE: Persecutions against the lawyer Ravi Madasamy, engaged in the defence of Malaysian death row inmates
On the 19th of August, the Singapore Attorney General notified human rights lawyer M Ravi (Ravi Madasamy) that he had filed a complaint against him with the Singapore Bar Association for “breach of the administration of justice”. A complaint that could have the effect of preventing him from continuing to practice his profession. A charge of contempt of court could also be laid against Mr. Ravi.
The lawyer M Ravi is reportedly prosecuted for his work on behalf of death row inmates in Malaysia. He is known throughout the world for his tireless advocacy against death penalty.
He currently represents Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, sentenced to death for mental disorder, who has been in prison for ten years, including eight years on death row. The High Court and the Court of Appeal refused to recognize Nagaenthran’s obvious mental disability and sentenced him to life imprisonment rather than death penalty.
Following a statement by the lawyer in Malaysia at a press conference on the 23rd of July 2019, the Singaporean authorities filed a complaint against him for “violation of the administration of justice”, which could also be followed by charges of contempt of court.
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) legal counsel N. Surendran has condemned this action by the Singaporean authorities and demanded that they stop threatening and interfering with Malaysian death row lawyers.
Singapore would be known for prosecuting those who criticize death penalty, particularly against drug mules. In 2010, British writer Alan Shadrake was prosecuted and jailed for criticising death penalty.
The IOLD supports lawyer M Ravi and all persecuted lawyers in their position on death penalty in Singapore.
The IOLD joins the Lawyers for Liberty rights group and urges the Singaporean authorities to drop the charges against lawyer M Ravi and to allow him to exercise his legal profession freely.
The IOLD calls upon the Singaporean authorities to comply with the 1990 Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers of the United Nations, including:
- “Governments shall ensure that lawyers (…) (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics” (Principle No. 16);
- “Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights (…)” (Principle No. 23).