ADPAN – STOP HARASSMENT OF KIRSTEN HAN, ANTI-DEATH PENALTY ADVOCATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

ADPAN

 

Media Statement – 5/9/2017

STOP HARASSMENT OF KIRSTEN HAN, ANTI-DEATH PENALTY ADVOCATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

ADPAN(Anti Death Penalty Asia Network) is perturbed by the fact that Singapore is now investigating Human Rights Defender and Anti-Death Penalty activist, Kirsten Han, allegedly for illegal assembly, in connection with a candle light vigil hours  before Malaysian Prabagaran Srivijayan was executed at 6.00 am on 14 July 2017.

On 3/9/2017, more than 7 weeks later, 2 police officers showed up at her house and handed her a letter saying that they were investigating an offence of “taking part in a public assembly without a permit”. (FMT News, 5/9/2017). It must be noted that the police were present during the said vigil outside Changi Prison, which was attended by anti-death penalty advocates and family members, and it was allowed to proceed on condition that no candles were lighted.

As such, one could ask whether this current action by Singapore is an harassment of a Human Rights Defender and Anti-Death Penalty advocate.

Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assemble is a universally recognized fundamental human right, as stated also in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The impositions of requirements like permit applications and the need to give prior notice of several days to the authorities, effectively undermines the right to Peaceful Assembly and protest, which at most times needs to carried out speedily to be effective and/or relevant.

In the case of Prabagaran, on 13/7/2017,  there was a hearing of an application at the Singapore Court of Appeal for a stay of execution until an application before the Malaysian courts for a referral of the case to the International Court of Justice(ICJ) was heard and finally disposed off, which reasonably should have been granted. The Singapore Court of Appeal, heard and dismissed the application in the late evening, and decided that the execution proceed as scheduled at dawn on 14/7/2017. No appeal against this decision was practicable in the few hours overnight.

In these circumstances, where a life was in the balance, it is alarming to suggest that the peaceful assembly attended by respectful persons, under the watch of the police, hours before Prabagaran was hanged, was ‘illegal’ because no permit was obtained.

It is absurd, to even suggest that the peaceful assembly and protest attended by persons, hours before Prabagaran was hanged, was ‘illegal’ because no permit was obtained.

It must also be pointed out that 29 year old Prabagaran who was sentenced to death for the offence of drug trafficking allegedly committed in April 2012, maintained his innocence until the very end.

In Malaysia, on or about 20/7/2017, the authorities prevented the entry of Adilur Rahman Khan from Bangladesh, a current Executive Committee member of ADPAN, from attending and participating in the ADPAN General Assembly and Malaysian National Conference on ‘Abolition of the Death Penalty in Malaysia and in Asia-Pacific’ that was happening in Kuala Lumpur on 20-22 July. According to Adilur, no reasons nave been given by the Malaysian authorities for the denial of entry to date. Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) is currently investigating the matter, and we hope to hear their findings soon.

ADPAN is appalled by this growing trend of harassment and violation of human rights of Human Rights Defenders and anti-death penalty activists in the ASEAN region.

ADPAN calls for immediate discontinuation of this investigation against Kirsten Han, an anti-death penalty advocate and Human Rights Defender.

ADPAN calls for the removal of all hurdles and restriction that prevent the exercise of one’s fundamental right of peaceful assembly and protest.

ADPAN also reiterates its call for the abolition of the death penalty, and the imposition of a moratorium on execution pending abolition.

 

Charles Hector

Sarmad Ali

For and on behalf of ADPAN

 

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) is a regional network of organization and individual members committed to working for the abolition of the death penalty in Asia-Pacific.

 

 

 

Singapore – Anti-Death Penalty Activist, Kirsten Han summoned over Singapore vigil for Prabagaran

Human Rights Defender and Anti-Death Penalty Advocate Kirsten Han being investigated for ‘illegal assembly’ about 7 weeks after ‘candle light vigil’ outside Changi Prison for Prabagaran Srivijiyan hours before he was hanged on 14/7/2017. Harassment?

Kirsten-Han

Activist summoned over Singapore vigil for Prabagaran

FMT Reporters

| September 5, 2017

 

Kirsten Han says she has been told to present herself for questioning after she attended a candlelight vigil for Prabagaran outside Changi Prison the night before he was executed.

PETALING JAYA: An activist and freelance journalist has been summoned over her participation in a candlelight vigil in Singapore for Malaysian S Prabagaran, who was hanged in the city state about two months ago.

Kirsten Han had attended the vigil outside Changi Prison on July 13, the night before Prabagaran was hanged.

In a Facebook post yesterday, she said the small group had put up photos of the 29-year-old and lit tea lights. About 15 minutes later, however, police officers arrived on the scene and told them they were not allowed to light candles or put up photos, and that the objects would have to be confiscated.

“We complied – we blew out the candles and handed them over (after a little while, because they were hot).

“We were then told that we could stay outside the prison as long as we didn’t light candles or set up any more photos,” she said.

On Sept 3, however, two police officers showed up at her house and handed her a letter saying that they were investigating an offence of “taking part in a public assembly without a permit”.

The letter also summoned Han to present herself for questioning as she “may be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case”.

Han said she was not able to make the time scheduled in the letter but was told by the officers that it would be possible to reschedule.

“I understand that it is the police’s duty to protect law and order and to uphold the laws of our country.

“But when a simple, non-violent, quiet vigil for a man about to be hanged by the state is deemed an illegal assembly worthy of a police investigation, perhaps it is time to think about whether we are striking the right balance between public order, freedom of assembly and compassion,” she said.

Prabagaran was convicted for drug trafficking in Singapore and hanged after the country’s Court of Appeal dismissed his application to stay his execution.

He was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint as he tried to enter the country.

However, he maintained his innocence, claiming that he did not own the car he drove and was not aware of the drugs being in it.

Earlier this year, he turned to the Malaysian courts to compel the government to start legal proceedings against Singapore before an international tribunal for denying him a fair trial.

On March 24, Prabagaran failed to obtain leave at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to compel the Malaysian government to start proceedings against Singapore.- FMT, 5/9/2017

Function 8: Stop harassment and intimidation of citizens participating in civil society activities

Local non-government organisation, Function 8 has issued a statement to condemn the police harassment of anti-death penalty activists who held a vigil outside Changi Prison on the night of 13 July 2017 for Prabagaran Srivijayan who was to be executed at dawn on 14 July 2017. Members of Prabagaran’s family were at the vigil, and anti-death penalty activists turned up to support the grieving family members.

Function 8 states that Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore guarantees the right of citizens to freedom of speech, expression and assembly.

“The act of issuing and having the police personally delivering letters which require the said activists to appear at police stations to assist in investigations, almost two months after the event, goes against the spirit of our Constitution and is a waste of Police resources. We call upon the Minister for Home Affairs to rescind the action of the police, to cease the investigation, and to stop the harassment and intimidation of citizens participating in civil society activities.” wrote the NGO. – Online Citizen, 4/9/2017 

* The Online Citizen also have a photo of Kristen Han’s FB post, and a video

Kirsten Han is from We Believe in Second Chances, a member of ADPAN

Parliamentrary Roundtable Towards Abolition – Kuala Lumpur(25/7/2017)

On 25 July 2017, parliamentarians, representatives from civil society and the diplomatic community met in the Parliament of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, to discuss the abolition of the death penalty in the region. This roundtable was convened by Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), in the framework of its partnership with Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM), the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) and the Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH),

 

The roundtable was hosted by Honourable Kula Segaran, Secretary of PGA’s National Group in Malaysia and Member of PGA’s Executive Committee.

 

Participants first discussed the situation of the death penalty in Malaysia, with opening statements from Mr. Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director of ECPM, H.E. Dr. Angela Macdonald, Acting Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, and H.E. Mrs. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador & Head of the European Union Delegation to Malaysia, who all vowed to support Malaysian parliamentarians and authorities in their efforts to reduce the scope of the capital punishment. Most significantly, Hon. Azalina Othman Said, Minister of Law, described Malaysia’s efforts to reduce the use of death penalty and announced that a bill abolishing the mandatory aspect of capital punishment for drug-related crimes would soon be presented to the Cabinet, before being put to vote in Parliament.

 

After substantive contributions from Hon. Kula Segaran, Mr. Charles Hector Fernandez, Coordinator of MADPET, Hon. Liew Ching Tong, PGA Member, and Tan Sri Razali Ismail, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), all attendants participated in a fruitful debate where they exchanged views on how to best promote the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.

 

The roundtable also gave the participants an overview of the situation of the death penalty in other Asian countries, thanks to the very detailed presentations from Ms. Ngeow Chow Ying, Member of the Executive Committee of ADPAN, Hon. Eva Sundari, Indonesian MP and PGA Member, Mr. Julian McMahon Barrister and Member of Reprieve Australia’s Board, and Mrs. Zainab Malik, Head of Advocacy at Justice Project Pakistan. Chaired by Hon. Thomas Su Keong Siong, Treasurer of PGA’s National group in Malaysia, and Hon. Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, PGA Member, this session allowed all participants to identify similitudes and synergies between efforts led by parliamentarians in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and other countries in the region.
All participants voiced their deep concerns at the increasing number of executions in Indonesia and Pakistan and at the multiplication of extrajudicial killing in the Philippines. They vowed to tackle the issue of the death penalty in their respective countries and on the regional level.
The participants came out with the following Action Plan.

Action Plan

Recalling the international human rights standards and instruments that guarantee the right to life and protect the human dignity of death row inmates, as well as the General Assembly of the United Nations’ resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty,

Considering how the death penalty is currently used in Malaysia and in the region, despite the lack of evidence of its deterrent effect,

Acknowledging the crucial role that legislators hold to promote the abolition of the death penalty, to reduce and restrict its use and to further the development of the Rule of Law through legislative initiatives and by leading public opinion,

We, the participants of the Parliamentary Roundtable on the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia and in Asia, commit to:

1. Continue to strive to inform our constituents and others about the death penalty and its related issues, to grow a consensus in favour of its abolition, including through public statements;

2. Create within our respective parliaments a multi-partisan group of parliamentarians dedicated to further the abolitionist cause, through engagement with other stakeholders and in particular with PGA, ECPM and ADPAN;

3. Engage with families affected by the death penalty, both the relatives of victims and of accused, and give them a role to play in our advocacy efforts;

4. Engage with student bodies to promote the abolition of the death penalty;

5. Make clear, whenever the opportunity arises, that under international law the death penalty should only be applied to “the most serious crimes” and that drug-related crimes do not meet this threshold;

6. Make clear, whenever the opportunity arises, that under international law the death penalty should not be made mandatory for any category of crimes, as it negates the rights of the accused to benefit from a sentence reflecting the circumstances of the crime;

7. Request from our respective governments that a review of existing death row cases be conducted to
assess inter alia the impact of the mandatory death penalty and the background of those affected;

8. Raise the issue, whenever the opportunity arises, of the discriminatory aspect of the death penalty, in particular against poverty-stricken communities, trafficked individuals, the mentally ill, juveniles, and minorities;

9. Keep the abolition of the death penalty at the forefront of legislative discussions, and especially when discussing matters of criminal justice and criminal procedure, to ensure that the capital punishment should only be used at the outcome of a fair and transparent trial;

10. Urge our respective governments, both federal and state, and all bodies that exercise clemency powers to commute death sentences;

11. Demand from our respective governments that no execution be carried out in secret or hastily, that an adequate notice be given to the family before execution, and that statistics are strictly kept and made public;

12. Develop strategies to reduce the scope of the death penalty in our respective countries, especially by introducing legislation reducing the number of capital offences;

13. Request a full moratorium on the use of the death penalty and that a national Commission of Inquiry on the efficiency of the capital punishment be created and its results published;

14. Ensure that our governments fully respect the Convention on the rights of child (CRC) and the
Convention on the elimination of all forms of discriminations against women (CEDAW);

15. Express our concerns at the dramatic increase of executions in Indonesia;

16. Express our concerns at the dramatic increase of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines;

17. Encourage and support our Filipino colleagues in ensuring that the death penalty not be reintroduced in the Philippines;

18. Express our concerns at the dramatic increase of executions in Pakistan;

19. Urge our respective governments to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-OP2) aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;

20. Urge our respective governments to make a more forceful representation to countries where their
citizens are sentenced to death and that the latter be ensured legal representation under the Vienna
Convention;

21. Bring issues related to the death penalty at the forefront of regional discussions, including at the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, to develop a better cooperation among MPs throughout the region and promote abolition;

22. Call upon all governments to abolish the death penalty; and more specifically:

In Malaysia:

23. Continue to request from the government that the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 be reviewed to abolish the mandatory aspect of the death penalty as announced by Min. Azalina Othman Said on 21 February 2016 and again during this very roundtable on 25 July 2017;

24. Urge the government of Malaysia to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR);

In Indonesia:

25. Use all legislative powers at our disposal, including that of amendments, to ensure that the new Criminal Code and the Law on Counter-Terrorism reduce the scope of the death penalty;

In Pakistan:

26. Promote a revision of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 to ensure that defendants accused of ordinary crimes not be tried before Anti-Terrorism Courts; and

27. Demand that torture be expressly prohibited in Pakistani criminal law, that penalties and remedies be defined, and that a National Prevention Institution be created.

“As parliamentarians, we have a role to play to go beyond vengeance” declared Hon. Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, PGA Member.

Reference

Parliamentarians for Global Action(PGA) Website

See related posts:-

Bill To End Mandatory Death Penalty For Drug Offences Maybe Tabled Before This Parliamentary Session Ends(MADPET Media Statement))

Parliamentarians need educate constituents for abolition of death penalty(Star)

** 3 ADPAN Executive Committee Members made presentations at this event.