ADPAN condemns Singapore’s use of police harassment in curbing public scrutiny of the judiciary and discussions of court cases

15 March 2020

ADPAN condemns Singapore’s use of police harassment in curbing public scrutiny of the judiciary and discussions of court cases

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) stands in solidarity with Singapore’s human rights lawyer Mr M Ravi, the Chief Editor of The Online Citizen (TOC) Mr Terry Xu, TOC writer Ms Danisha Hakeem and Mr Mohan Rajangam, all of who are currently under investigation for possible contempt of Court under Section 3(1)(b) of the state’s Administration of Justice (Protection) Act.

It was reported in media articles that police, acting under the authorisation of the Attorney-General, raided the office of Mr Ravi and the home of Mr Xu, seizing their mobile devices and computers. Mr Xu was held at Cantonment Police Station for questioning by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for about 7 hours on Friday 13 March 2020.

It appears that the investigation commenced after some articles were published by The Online Citizen questioning the role of the Singapore State Court in Mr Mohan’s extradition to Malaysia. It has been reported that Mr Mohan was arrested on 21 March 2015 and extradited to Malaysia following the endorsement of a Malaysian arrest warrant by a magistrate in Singapore, for an offence that he maintains he did not commit. He reportedly spent four months in custody before being released by Malaysian authorities without charge.

ADPAN holds strong to the view that public institutions must be transparent in order to be accountable, including being open to scrutiny and review.  Public questioning or discussion regarding court cases ought not automatically be considered ‘prejudicing or interfering’ with court proceedings. Judicial officers have a duty to act independently from pressure from the public, media or the Executive.

The use of police powers that have the effect of unduly harassing individuals who publicly express their opinions or discusses such matters, including the seizure of mobile devices and computers and extended police questioning send the wrong message to the public in the exercise of legitimate dissent on government policies and actions. Rather, we strongly recommend the use of public platforms for the Government or institutions to clarify matters that impact on society including outcomes arising from the country’s justice system.

For more information:

State Court loses notes of evidence in regards to the transfer of Mohan Rajangam to Malaysian authorities – https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2020/03/04/state-court-loses-notes-of-evidence-in-regards-to-transfer-of-mohan-rajangam-to-malaysian-authorities/

TOC editor, lawyer M Ravi among 4 investigated for contempt of court – https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/toc-editor-lawyer-m-ravi-among-4-investigated-contempt-court?fbclid=IwAR1hhF8SjHFlbe_wKAXSOxCkKubhKSXVlJAdoQ6Y0Kg0NL8i3fAAViYybHI

TOC editor and lawyer being investigated for prejudicing ongoing court proceedings – https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/toc-editor-and-lawyer-being-investigated-for-prejudicing-ongoing-court

 

 

ADPAN calls on India to stop executions (Media Statement)

 

 

21 January 2020

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) urgently calls upon the Government of India to stop the executions of Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta who are scheduled to be hanged at Tihar Jail on Saturday 1 February.

 

It should not be assumed that the death penalty is a common feature of the administration of justice within India. In fact, the most recent execution in India took place on 30 July 2015 and only four judicially sanctioned executions have been conducted in more than 20 years. In this period, an unmistakable international trend towards abolition of the death penalty has emerged. In these circumstances, the scheduled resumption of executions should be regarded as an unusual and retrograde step, inconsistent with upholding the dignity of human life within India.

 

To resume the state-sanctioned killing of prisoners, regardless of the nature of their offending, is an affront to the universal right to life and accordingly undermines the inherent dignity of all people. The inclusion of the right to life in Article 21 of the Constitution of India reflects this universal value.   Having ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), India is in a position to adopt the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and to acknowledge that the persistence of the death penalty is an inherent contradiction to the ‘enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights’.

 

At this time, we call to mind the recommendations set out within the Law Commission of India’s study of the death penalty, Report No. 262, in which it is noted that:

 

‘The notion of “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” has no place in our constitutionally mediated criminal justice system. Capital punishment fails to achieve any constitutionally valid penological goals.’

 

Clearly, the people of India are rightly seeking to address the terrible and distressing prevalence of sexual violence in their community and ADPAN joins with local advocates in their wholesale condemnation of the horrific death of Nirbhaya and other women across India. However, reliance upon the death penalty at this time will only serve to further entrench violence and impede the protection of human rights.

 

 

 

The death penalty will not ensure the protection and safety of the Indian people from sexual violence. The “low rate of conviction in rape trials, significantly high number of incidents of acquaintance rapes and under-reporting of sexual violence”, requires an extensive and nuanced institutional and cultural response that is not the province of the death penalty.

 

Proceeding with the executions of Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta would only illustrate the inherent futility of the death penalty. We ask that the Government of India takes action immediately, consistent with the exercise of its sovereign powers, to prevent these deaths.

 

 

Sara Kowal

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of ADPAN (Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network)

Email: contactadpan@gmail.com

Website: https://adpan.org/

 

 

ADPAN

 

ADPAN is the peak regional body for organisations committed to the abolition of the death penalty across Asia-Pacific, with members from approximately 22 countries within the region. As such, ADPAN maintains that the death penalty violates the right to life, that it is the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and that the death penalty should be entirely abolished internationally.

 

 

ADPAN Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty

ADPAN Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty

This year marks the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty on the 10th of October,
abolitionists around the world will highlight the plight of children whose parent(s)
have been sentenced to death, or executed.

ADPAN joins in to recognize that the psychological and emotional trauma
experienced by children under such circumstances is profound, and has long-term
and often devastating impacts.

Unfortunately, Asia has the highest number of executions in the world. In 2018,
Amnesty International recorded at least 1100 new death sentences and 136
executions in the Asia-Pacific. Thailand resumed executions for the first time since
2009; Japan tripled its annual figure (from 4 to 15 executions); Singapore executed
13 prisoners. Excluding China, Amnesty reported that 78% of all reported executions
took place in just four countries : Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq.

Behind each and every death sentence and execution lies the human stories of the
sufferings of the family and the loved one. Children remain the unseen victim. Stigma
and discrimination often accompany them wherever they go. Many studies have
highlighted the fact that the death penalty is often imposed on the poor and
marginalized, who have no means to be effectively represented, within a “cracked”
judicial system. Thus, the possibilities of wrongful conviction are high.

ADPAN condemns all forms of violence, including state violence. The pains suffered
by the family of the prisoner because state violence against the accused are no less
nor can it be justified in any way. When the state executes a person, it means
another person loses a son, a father, a husband. This is the reality of the death
penalty.

ADPAN advocates for restorative justice, a system based on reconciliation and second chance. We believe that this is a system that moves humanity.

ADPAN strives for a world without the death penalty. Today, we call on all
Governments that retain the death penalty to strengthen their political will and abolish
the death penalty. In the meantime, there should be no execution!

 

Issued by:
ADPAN Executive Committee
10th October 2019