LFL: Due process denied in dismissal of Malaysian death row prisoners’ suit against Singapore AG

Julia Chan

Lawyers for Liberty legal coordinator Zaid Malek (pic) said that both Gobi and Datchinamurthy will be appealing against the decision and their appeals are being expedited. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — A rights group has criticised the Singapore High Court’s dismissal of lawsuits by two Malaysians currently on death row at Changi Prison.

Gobi Avedian and Datchinamurthy Kataiah had sued the Singapore attorney general (AG) over the alleged brutal and unlawful execution methods practised by prison authorities.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) legal coordinator, Zaid Malek, said the duo’s suits were dismissed yesterday without due process.

“There was no fairness or due process in the manner in which the Singapore AG and court dealt with the two suits,” said Zaid who is also the lawyer for the two inmates’ families.

“At the behest of the AG, the High Court rushed the hearing of the suits without giving adequate time to prisoner’s counsel to prepare and argue the matter. It was clear that they were bent on dismissing the suits and proceeding to execution.”

Family members and supporters were present in court yesterday.

The suits were to stay the men’s executions pending investigations into allegations of brutality when hangings are carried out, as well as a reported threat against the prisoners’ Singapore lawyer, M. Ravi.

Zaid said that both Gobi and Datchinamurthy will be appealing against the decision and their appeals are being expedited.

The appeal centres on the rights of a person facing the death sentence to have access to justice without any interference or threat upon their lawyer.

“This arises because of the attorney general’s blatant threat and confirmation that the Singapore Government will avail of a full range of options against the Malaysian prisoners’ lawyer, M. Ravi.

“We urge the Singapore government to cease the strong-arm tactics, and allow the Malaysian prisoners due process and a fair hearing,” said Zaid.

He also called on the Malaysian government to step in and defend the rights of the Malaysian prisoners in Singapore.

Previously, LFL had claimed that brutal and unlawful methods are used at Changi Prison when the rope breaks during executions.

The Singapore government later claimed that LFL’s allegations contained “false statements of fact”.

Singapore Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam also issued LFL a “correction direction” pursuant to the republic’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 (Pofma) to LFL’s claims.

Later, LFL filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur High Court against Shanmugam seeking a declaration by the court that the latter’s directive, made under Singapore’s controversial fake news law, is null, void and cannot be enforced against it as an entity operating within Malaysia.

Related Articles Due process denied in dismissal of Malaysian death row prisoners cases in Singapore court — Lawyers for Liberty Support, not stifle the freedom of speech and expression of artists and performers — Lawyers for Liberty Malaysians in Singapore urged to follow guidelines to prevent spread of coronavirus