Singapore police raid on lawyer M Ravi is highly prejudicial to the pending cases of Malaysian death row prisoners in Changi prison
14 March 2020
We refer to the raid yesterday morning by the Singapore police force on the legal firm of prominent Singapore human rights lawyer M Ravi.
M Ravi has been the repeated target of harassment and intimidation by the Singapore government and the Attorney General (AG) ever since he took up the cases of Malaysian drug mules on death row in Singapore’s Changi prison. For example, as recently as February 2020, the Singapore AG threatened to take action against Mr Ravi during a court hearing in which Ravi represented Malaysian death row prisoners Datchinamurthy Kataiah and Gobi Avedian.
In the incident yesterday the Singapore police claimed to be investigating Ravi for contempt of court in relation to a case involving a Singaporean who was extradited from Malaysia to Singapore, in which Ravi was acting as counsel.
Ravi’s phones and passport have been seized as well. This is an act of blatant and illegal harassment and intimidation against M Ravi, who was merely doing his duty as a lawyer.
These unlawful actions by the Singapore authorities are undoubtedly related to Mr Ravi’s vigorous defence of the rights of Malaysian death row prisoners in Singapore. There is now a clear pattern of intimidation and unlawful actions by the state of Singapore against Mr Ravi.
This latest unlawful action against Ravi also comes ahead of the hearing of a crucial legal challenge filed by Ravi in the Singapore Court of Appeal on behalf of Malaysian death row prisoner Gobi Avedian. Ravi had successfully re-opened drug mule Gobi’s case on grounds of a serious miscarriage of justice, and the matter is now to be heard on 27 March 2020 by a 5-member panel of judges. Until Mr 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 Mr Ravi will be allowed to argue Malaysian Gobi’s case on 27 March 2020.
The seizing of Ravi’s passport is clearly aimed at making it difficult for Ravi to meet the Malaysian families of prisoners as well as instructing Malaysian solicitors. It is an act of pure sabotage by the Singapore government against the available legal avenues for Malaysian death row prisoners.
The actions by the Singapore authorities against Ravi are in breach of Article 9 of the Singapore Constitution which guarantees the right to a fair trial. The Malaysians on death row cannot now get a fair hearing in their pending legal cases because of the unlawful threats and orchestrated police actions against Mr M Ravi.
We call upon the Singapore government to cease all unlawful threats, police actions and intimidation against lawyer M 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 take make the necessary representations to Singapore, to preserve and protect the rights of Malaysian prisoners.
Lawyers for Liberty