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

Singapore/Malaysia -‘Prabagaran maintained his innocence until the end’

 ‘Prabagaran maintained his innocence until the end’

| July 15, 2017

The 29-year-old Malaysian, who was hanged to death at the Changi Prison yesterday, accepted his fate but always maintained his innocence, says We Believe in Second Chances co-founder Kirsten Han.

Kirsten-Han-S.-Prabagaran

 

PETALING JAYA: S. Prabagaran, who was executed in Singapore on Friday for drug trafficking, accepted his fate but maintained his innocence until the end.

 

The 29-year-old Malaysian, who is from Johor Baru, was hanged to death at the Changi Prison yesterday and was cremated at the Mandai crematorium in Singapore.

 

We Believe in Second Chances co-founder Kirsten Han said those who were with him said he was jovial and joking with the prison guards even during the approaching hours of the execution.

 

“Prabagaran always told his cousin that he was innocent but that he accepted his fate,” The Star quoted Han as saying.

 

Prabagaran 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.

 

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.

 

On Thursday, lawyer N Surendran said Singapore’s Court of Appeal had dismissed Prabagaran’s application to stay his execution pending his case in the Malaysian courts.

 

 

He told FMT the appeals court had ruled that Singapore is a sovereign nation and that it would not wait for the outcome of proceedings in Malaysia.

 

Amnesty International criticised the execution, saying it was a shocking violation of the human right to life.

 

“That an appeal was pending in this case in his home country at the time of execution, and that there were serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, underlines a flagrant disregard for due process in profoundly dubious circumstances,” said its director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez. – FMT News, 15/7/2017

 

See other news stories

 

UN urges Singapore to halt Malaysian’s execution
InternationalYahoo Singapore NewsJul 11, 2017

FIDH calls for Singapore to halt its execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan

The Online CitizenJul 12, 2017
Paris, 12 July 2017 – Singaporean authorities must halt the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan, FIDH said today. Prabagaran, a 29-year-old …