Singapore Lawyer representing Malaysian on Death Row face retaliation by Singapore Attorney General?

It is sad when the Attorney General files a notice to the Law Society to take disciplinary action against M.Ravi, a lawyer and Human Rights Defender, which may result in the lawyer being no longer able to practice as a lawyer…

The AGC on 1 Aug filed a complaint to the Law Society against M Ravi over his memo to the Malaysian government, in which he urged the Malaysian government to promptly bring Nagaenthran’s case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)….In the complaint formally received by the Law Society the same day…Citing Section 83(2)(h) of the Legal Practice Act, the AGC charged that M Ravi’s “conduct” is “calculated to prejudice the administration of justice, and is accordingly improper” for a lawyer, who is “a member of an honourable profession”…“[T]he AG requests that the Council of the Law Society of Singapore refers the above information touching upon Mr Ravi’s conduct to a Disciplinary Tribunal, pursuant to Section 85(3)(b) of the LPA,” the note read.

Lawyer Ravi is representing a Malaysian Nagaenthran Dharmalingam on death row – who is alleged is to be mentally impaired > as such, he should not be executed..

A lawyer and/or human rights defender is expected to do his best to avoid injustice – In July, Ravi together with others including the family members are calling, amongst others, the Malaysian government to promptly bring Nagaenthran’s case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Another Malaysian lawyer, N. Surendran, also stated that he too have been subjected to threats …   ‘Surendran subsequently alleged that the Singaporean government had threatened to take action against him as an instructing solicitor for Malaysian prisoners in Changi over a “trumped up charge of scandalising their judiciary”….’

Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders should not be targetted by any government in their struggle for justice and human rights… 

What is the Pakatan Harapan government’s response – will they be bothered to help this Malaysian on death row by refering this case to the International Court of Justice?

Is the government bothered about this Malaysian on death row in a foreign country? Does it care …or simply not bothered?

 

Drop charges against lawyer representing Malaysian on death row, Singapore told

Nation

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2019 10:31 AM MYT

Lawyer N. Surendran.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) is now urging Singapore to drop all charges against human rights lawyer M. Ravi, who is representing a Malaysian on death row for drug trafficking.

“We condemn this high-handed action against Ravi and demand that Singapore drop all charges against him. We further demand that Singapore cease and desist from further threatening or interfering with the lawyers of the Malaysian death row prisoners.

“We also urge the Malaysian government to make urgent representations to Singapore in protest against the continual persecution and threats against the lawyers of Malaysian death row prisoners,” said LFL advisor N. Surendran (pic).

Surendran claimed that Ravi, who is representing Malaysian Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, was served with a notice of action by the Singapore attorney general for allegedly “prejudicing the administration of justice” over a statement issued in Malaysia during a press conference on July 23.

“The AG has filed a complaint on those grounds to the Singapore Law Society, which is likely to result in Ravi being barred from legal practice.

“In addition, contempt of court charges may also be brought against Ravi,” said Surendran in a press statement on Tuesday (Aug 20).

Surendran claimed that Singapore is notorious for prosecuting those who criticise its death penalty sentence that allegedly targets drug mules.

As an example, Surendran said British author Alan Shadrake was jailed in 2010 for criticising the death sentence in Singapore.

“For courageously defending a mentally-impaired Malaysian citizen, Ravin now stands to lose his license to practice law.”

Surendran also claimed that Malaysians are being targeted by Singapore for conviction and executions as drug mules.

He quoted Singapore Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugan as saying in May that the government “will not go easy on Malaysian drug offenders”.

“It is shocking that not only are Malaysians being targeted, but they are also being denied legal representation.”

Surendran subsequently alleged that the Singaporean government had threatened to take action against him as an instructing solicitor for Malaysian prisoners in Changi over a “trumped up charge of scandalising their judiciary”.

“Similarly, they are now persecuting Ravi, who is internationally known for his relentless advocacy on behalf of death row prisoners and against the death penalty,” he said. – Star, 20/8/2019

Singaporean international human rights lawyer M Ravi (left) with Lawyers For Liberty founder and Malaysian lawyer N. Surendran at the Lawyers for Liberty press conference in Petaling Jaya on Tue (23 Jul). Source: TOC/Danisha Hakeem

S’pore govt should “drop all charges” against M Ravi over statement on M’sian drug mule Nagaenthran’s case: Lawyers For Liberty

The Singapore government must drop all charges against Singaporean international human rights lawyer M Ravi over a statement he made regarding the case of 30-year-old Malaysian drug mule Nagaenthran s/o K Dharmalingam, said Lawyers For Liberty.

N Surendran, advisor of the Malaysian human rights organisation and a lawyer himself, alleged in a statement on Tue (20 Aug) that the charges against M Ravi “is consistent with the ongoing targeting by Singapore of Malaysian citizens for conviction and execution as drug mules”.

“It is shocking that not only are Malaysians being targeted, but they are also being denied legal representation. It is clear that Singapore now wants to hang Malaysians without giving them the benefit of proper legal representation,” he added.

Surendran noted that he was also allegedly similarly targeted by the Singapore government in the course of representing Malaysian death row prisoners in Singapore.

“In July this year, Singapore threatened to take action against myself as instructing solicitor for Malaysian prisoners in Changi on a trumped up charge of scandalising their judiciary.

“Similarly, they are now persecuting M Ravi, who is known internationally for his relentless advocacy on behalf of death row prisoners and against the death penalty,” he said, citing the case of Yong Vui Kong, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2010.

Surendran stressed that the complaint, filed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore on the grounds of M Ravi allegedly prejudicing “the administration of justice” through his claims, will not only likely result in M Ravi being disbarred, but may also pave the way for contempt of court charges against him.

“For courageously defending a mentally impaired Malaysian citizen, M Ravi now stands to lose his licence to practice law,” he said.

Surendran added that Singapore should “cease and desist” from “further threatening or interfering” in the efforts of lawyers of Malaysian death row prisoners in the Republic.

“We also urge the Malaysian government to make urgent representations to Singapore in protest against the continual persecution and threats against the lawyers of Malaysian death row prisoners,” he added.

Nagaenthran, who is currently on death row in Changi Prison, was arrested in 2009 and convicted in 2010 for trafficking not less than 42.72 grams of diamorphine into Singapore via Woodlands Checkpoint in Apr 2009. The Court of Appeal rejected two of his appeals in May this year.

AGC files complaint to Law Society against M Ravi for ICJ memo to Malaysian government over drug mule Nagaenthran’s case; M Ravi apologises “unconditionally”

The AGC on 1 Aug filed a complaint to the Law Society against M Ravi over his memo to the Malaysian government, in which he urged the Malaysian government to promptly bring Nagaenthran’s case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In the complaint formally received by the Law Society the same day and which was seen by TOC, the AGC accused M Ravi of making “baseless” and “false” statements “which attack State Prosecutors in Singapore, a sitting Judge of the State Courts of Singapore, and the Singapore Courts”, based on his note to the Malaysian government, as seen in his media statement on 23 Jul.

Among the refutations made by the AGC included stating that M Ravi had made “sweeping and unwarranted attacks” against Senior District Judge Bala Reddy, who was then a Principal Senior State Counsel or Chief Prosecutor at the AGC.

“Mr Ravi makes sweeping, false claims that SDJ Reddy made certain statements in 2010 that were biased against independent defence psychiatrists. However, Mr Ravi failed to explain what exactly these statements were, and when, where and in what context they were made,” said AGC.

The note added that M Ravi had also made what the AGC deemed as a baseless assertion regarding the Singapore Courts’ role in Nagaenthran’s case.

In the AGC’s view, M Ravi implied the Courts “will not or did not correct the alleged breaches of his client’s rights”, and that the courts have failed or refused to “properly assess the expert reports tendered by the State Prosecutor”.

Citing Section 83(2)(h) of the Legal Practice Act, the AGC charged that M Ravi’s “conduct” is “calculated to prejudice the administration of justice, and is accordingly improper” for a lawyer, who is “a member of an honourable profession”.

“[T]he AG requests that the Council of the Law Society of Singapore refers the above information touching upon Mr Ravi’s conduct to a Disciplinary Tribunal, pursuant to Section 85(3)(b) of the LPA,” the note read.

Highlighting that he is handling Nagaenthran’s case on a pro bono basis, M Ravi in a Facebook post on Mon (19 Aug) called upon the AGC to “reconsider its decision and perhaps issue a statement” to counter his legal arguments instead of ”instituting a formal complaint of this nature”.

“I am just doing my best to address the rather complex issues in this particular death penalty case and the death penalty regime in Singapore where lives are at stake,” he said.

“I urge the Law Society of Singapore, lawyers, the international community and you my friends to stand together with me in solidarity during this trying period ahead,” said M Ravi.

M Ravi has since deleted the post. However, he apologised for the entire fiasco the same day the previous post was published.

In a new Facebook post the same day, M Ravi said that he “did not intend to prejudice the administration of justice” in making his previous claims, in addition to being willing to “unequivocally withdraw” the allegations he made in the note.

Executing mentally impaired M’sian death row prisoner contravenes international law and even S’pore’s laws: Lawyers For Liberty

Previously, Surendran similarly alleged that Malaysians in particular “are being targeted by Singapore for this kind of treatment”, which he claimed is in line with Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam’s statement in May regarding Malaysian death row prisoners convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore.

Mr Shanmugam told The Straits Times on 24 May that while he acknowledges that some ministers in the Pakatan Harapan government are “ideologically opposed” to the death penalty, Singapore will remain steadfast in its decision to continue imposing the death penalty on persons found guilty of drug trafficking, and thus expects Malaysia to “respect that condition as well.”

“It is not tenable to give a special moratorium to Malaysians, and impose it on everyone else, including Singaporeans who commit offences which carry the death penalty,” said Mr Shanmugam, adding that the Singapore government will not “be deflected from doing the right thing for Singapore” and its population, whom he believes “is supportive of that stand”.

“That is the question I want to ask Mr [K] Shanmugam: When you said in May that you won’t go easy on Malaysians, does that mean you will even execute a Malaysian suffering from mental disability? Is that what you mean, Mr Shanmugam?” Surendran charged, in a joint press conference with Singaporean international human rights lawyer M Ravi at the Lawyers For Liberty office in Petaling Jaya on Tue (23 Jul).

Surendran, the Malaysian lawyer for Pannir Selvam Pranthaman who was granted a stay of execution by the SGCA at the end of May, also argued: “How can that be part of a fair trial? How can [it be said that] our [Malaysian] citizens have been treated fairly? I think it’s staring everyone in the face that Nagaenthran was not treated fairly.”

“Can you hang a person who has got [an] IQ [of] 69, and who an independent psychiatrist has declared as [having a] mental disability? … We are saying you cannot. That is in breach of international law and even Singapore’s laws,“ he charged.- The Online Citizen, 21/8/2019

Don’t execute mentally challenged Malaysian, Singapore urged

Lawyers for Liberty legal adviser N Surendran (in red tie) and Singapore-based lawyer M Ravi and relatives of death row inmate Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam at the press conference today. Nagaenthran’s mother, Panchalai Subramaniam, is fourth from right.

PETALING JAYA: A rights group has urged the Singapore government not to execute a 31-year-old Malaysian who was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in 2010.Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who is said to be suffering from mental disabilities, was found guilty of importing 42.72gm of heroin into Singapore in 2009.

Lawyers for Liberty legal adviser N Surendran said executing a mentally challenged man was against international law and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Singapore had ratified.

“It is beyond dispute that he suffers from mental disability. This evaluation was made by an independent psychiatrist and the evidence has been submitted to court,” he told a press conference here today.

“Singapore is putting themselves in the same category as Iran or North Korea in sentencing to death or putting on death row a mentally challenged individual.”

Surendran noted Singapore Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugan’s statement in May 2009 that the island state would not be “going easy” on Malaysians convicted of drug trafficking.

Claiming again that Malaysians were being targeted by Singapore, he said: “The Malaysian government must take note of this.”

He said this may even affect bilateral ties.

Surendran accused Singapore of being “notorious” for not having an independent judiciary. This, he said, denied Malaysian citizens their right to a free trial.

He said Nagaenthran’s defence counsel had submitted a psychiatric report from a well-regarded independent psychiatrist, which suggested the accused was mentally disabled.

However, he said the report was disputed by the court and also by state psychiatrists.

Despite that, the court still accepted that Nagaenthran had a low IQ of 69 and suffered from a mild case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a learning disability.

Singaporean-based human rights lawyer M Ravi, who is acting for Nagaenthran’s family, said Singapore had been shown to have “inherent biases” against independent psychiatrists appointed by defence lawyers.

On the other hand, he said, psychiatrists from Singapore’s Institute of Mental Health were regarded as “objective” and “impartial”.

Ravi said this “institutional bias” had violated the rights of individuals to a fair trial.

He claimed that one of the psychiatrists commissioned by the state also failed to examine Nagaenthran in person.

“Instead, he only looked at the independent psychiatrist’s report in an attempt to poke holes at it,” he said.

Ravi said Singapore’s law allowed for an exemption from the death penalty in drug-related offences if the convict was found to have mental disabilities.

However, he said the state had “set the bar so high” for convicts to satisfy that criteria in the event he or she suffered from a mental disability.

Clemency petition

The lawyers said they were preparing a clemency petition to be submitted to the Singaporean government.

However, Ravi noted that since 1998, Singapore had not considered any clemency petitions and the chances of that happening now were slim.

He said he had also drafted a complaint to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on behalf of Malaysia, which has been sent to de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong.

Surendran said Malaysia had a valid case to bring to the ICJ.

“There is already a case to haul Singapore to the ICJ. Other countries have hauled each other for lesser reasons than this,” he said, adding that execution of a citizen who was disabled was one of the strongest cases for ICJ intervention.

However, he added that they would leave the matter to the government.

Both lawyers said the ICJ may issue an interim stay of execution even if Singapore had not submitted to the international court.

Surendran said they were running out of time to save Nagaenthran and they could no longer estimate how quickly he and others on death row were moving towards execution.

He said LFL had previously revealed there were 10 clemency petitions – four of them on behalf of Malaysians – dismissed by the Singaporean government at one go. – Free Malaysia Today, 23/7/2019

M Ravi returns to law practice after reality jolt spurred by high-profile incidents

By Louisa Tang

Published07 July, 2019

Updated 08 July, 2019

SINGAPORE — Human rights lawyer M Ravi cuts a different figure than he did just a few years ago, and he is well-aware of the striking change.

Barred from applying for a practising certificate for two years in 2016, he was also grappling with bipolar disorder — punctuated by episodes of mania and depression. Unable to manage his mental condition, he ended up assaulting an ex-colleague, among other incidents.

Last year, he was ordered to undergo 18 months of mandatory treatment in lieu of jail time for his offences.

Now, the 50-year-old said that he has not suffered a relapse for more than a year — borne out of working closely with his doctors, family and friends to prevent relapses.

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Things are looking up for him on the professional front as well. Mr Ravi, whose full name is Ravi Madasamy, received his practising certificate on Friday (July 5) after four years of not being able to flex his legal muscles in the courtroom.

A Supreme Court spokesperson confirmed to TODAY that the Registrar of the Supreme Court has issued Mr Ravi the practising certificate, with conditions. On what these conditions are, the court referred TODAY to Mr Ravi, who did not wish to reveal the details.

Fellow human rights and criminal lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam welcomed him back to law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP in March, though Mr Ravi has since left and re-joined opposition party leader Lim Tean’s firm, Carson Law Chambers.

In June 2017, Mr Thuraisingam fired Mr Ravi as the firm’s head of knowledge management and strategic alliance — a job Mr Ravi accepted after the High Court suspended him in 2015 from practising until he was medically fit to do so.

Mr Ravi then broke into the firm’s People’s Park Centre office three times, before assaulting fellow lawyer, Ms Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, outside the firm’s main office at The Adelphi.

“It was clear that I was unwell at the time when the incident took place,” he said in an interview with TODAY in April.

Mr Thuraisingam said that he has always considered Mr Ravi a friend, and that the nature of his illness caused him to behave in an “unfortunate” manner.

“Having said that, he needs to learn and understand that he cannot behave in that manner and do bad things to people. But we do hope and are confident that he will change for the better,” he added.

DID NOT RECOGNISE EARLY SYMPTOMS

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006, Mr Ravi suffers from hypomanic episodes, characterised by symptoms such as euphoric or irritable moods. He said he was unable to recognise early symptoms.

In 2012, when the Law Society (LawSoc) ordered him to stop his legal practice pending a medical examination, he created a ruckus at the society’s premises.

In February 2015, LawSoc banned him from practising, before the High Court suspended his practice altogether. A week earlier, he had declared in a hastily convened press conference that he would run in Singapore’s next General Election, adding that he aspired to be the next prime minister.

About two years later, he used abusive language on others at Chinatown’s Sri Mariamman Temple on two occasions.

Then, when he persisted in representing Malaysian drug trafficker Prabagaran Srivijayan, who had been given the death penalty, the Court of Appeal ordered him to pay costs for a “senseless and frivolous” application.

Lawyer M Ravi outside court several years ago before losing the right to practise, a right that was restored on July 5, 2019.

On July 14, 2017, the morning Prabagaran was executed, Mr Ravi turned up at a candlelight vigil outside Changi Prison Complex and berated the crowd. At the gathering was freelance journalist and fellow anti-death-penalty activist Kirsten Han, who — among several of his friends — publicly urged him to seek help.

“It’s been painful for those of us who care about him to watch this downward spiral, played out so publicly over Facebook Live over the past months,” Ms Han wrote in a Facebook post shortly after.

Such pleas from Mr Ravi’s loved ones jolted him to reality.

He said: “I sought help and treatment to curb my relapses after realising and watching my own videos of the distress I was causing myself and others around me.”

Now, he said, he has better insight into his condition and has learned to recognise triggers.

He also said that those with bipolar disorder are “sadly, grossly misunderstood and still stigmatised today”, due to a lack of awareness and education on mental health in general.

“It is important to recognise that one should not treat a relapse from bipolar disorder any differently from a relapse from any other physical or mental illness. Both are physiological medical conditions that deserve care, empathy and respect for the patient.”

Any misbehaviour due to the condition should not be equated to a character flaw, he added.

As for himself, he said he did not get the impression that people question his ability to do his work now.

“I think what is more important is not the fall, but how one rises after the fall.”

Support from people around him definitely helped in the recovery process.

​LawSoc has been a “good source of support and encouragement”, Mr Ravi said. He has “enjoyed tremendous support and camaraderie” from the legal fraternity as well, especially from senior lawyers.

Mr Thuraisingam said that understanding Mr Ravi’s mental condition, while difficult, has been a learning experience. He corresponds with Mr Ravi’s doctors and tries to read up about the subject.

“It is difficult and extremely stressful though, having to stay vigilant to what he does and to put in place safeguards to protect the people around him. We do, however, try our best,” he added.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Over the last few years, Mr Ravi has used the downtime to travel overseas and be more active in international human rights law and advocacy work. He took the time to give lectures, make contacts and work with foreign legal teams.

For example, he is now working with a team in Tanzania in eastern Africa on a constitutional challenge against the country’s mandatory death penalty. He is also working with environmental lawyers in Indonesia on the perennial haze issue.

With his practising certificate in hand, Mr Ravi said that he will continue to take human rights law cases that are pertinent to Singaporeans. He also recently launched a personal website and video channel to educate others on various aspects of the law.

As he moves to put his past behind him, Mr Ravi is keen to increase awareness on mental health.

“Instead of ostracising and throwing stones, we can do better by showing love, understanding and support that allows those with mental conditions to recover faster,” he said. – TODAY, 7/7/2019

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