Press Release: S’pore govt & judiciary must ensure a fair hearing in Nagaenthiran’s appeal to set aside his death sentence & must cease intimidation & harassment of his lawyer M Ravi

The application to set aside the death sentence of M’sian citizen Nagaenthiran Dharmalingam at the Singapore court of appeal is fixed on 24 January 2022. The hearing is set to be heard by a bench of 5 judges led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

Nagaenthiran, who is mentally disabled with an IQ of 69, was convicted and sentenced to death in November 2010 for importing 42.72g of diamorphine.

Singapore’s shocking attempt to hang the mentally disabled Nagaenthiran last November was foiled amidst international condemnation and eleventh-hour stay applications filed by prominent human rights lawyer M Ravi.

Mr Ravi has since been subjected to concerted intimidation, oppression and undue pressure by the Singapore authorities. This includes tens of thousands of dollars in personal cost orders made by the court against Mr Ravi at the behest of the Attorney-General arising from capital punishment cases argued vigorously by Mr Ravi. Cost orders of this nature against a lawyer appearing in capital cases is oppressive and unheard of in Commonwealth jurisdictions which adhere to the rule of law. Mr Ravi has also been threatened with professional disciplinary complaints and baseless police investigations.

Further, court directions for filing of documents with short deadlines have been deliberately imposed upon Mr Ravi despite the authorities’ knowledge that he is on a month long medical leave.

The intention is clearly to discourage Mr Ravi from further pursuing vigorous legal challenges in Nagaenthiran’s as well as other cases. Mr Ravi’s robust legal challenges over the past decade have hugely embarrassed the government by highlighting the injustice and barbarity of the Singapore death penalty regime.

We strongly urge the Singapore government to immediately cease all tactics of intimidation, harassment and undue pressure against Mr Ravi, and allow him and Nagaenthiran to pursue legal challenges without any hindrance whatsoever. We further urge the judiciary to retract unfair court directions issued to Mr Ravi and ensure a free and fair hearing of the pending applications and appeals.

The world will be watching this case closely, and Singapore must act consistent with the rule of law, customary international law principles on fair trial and it’s own obligations as a state party to the UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities (CPRD).

Issued by,
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty

4 January 2022