Singapore should stop the execution of death row prisoners including that of Malaysian national Pannir Selvam, says Eric Paulsen, the Malaysian rep to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.
Paulsen is pleading with the Singapore government to halt the impending executions of at least 10 death row prisoners, four of whom are Malaysians.
The four Malaysians are facing execution for drug-related offences and had their clemency petitions refused.
He says Pannir Selvam tried but did not qualify for the substantive assistance rule despite cooperating with authorities in Singapore.
In a report from Malaysiakini, Paulsen points to the substantive assistance rule – which allows Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers to issue a Certificate of Substantive Assistance to certify to the court that the prisoner has provided information to disrupt drug trafficking activities.
He told Malaysiakini in the case of Selvam the prisoner was not issued with the certificate and the decision of the AGC remains unaccountable and opaque.
On July 25, family members of five Malaysian citizens on Singapore’s death row asked for a pardon for drug trafficking.
The family members, accompanied by civil society organisation members, submitted a memorandum to the Singapore High Commission on Thursday (July 25) morning.
The memorandum addressed to Singapore president Halimah Yacob says, “Madam president, most death row inmates are merely drug mules who were caught and sentenced to death while the drug kingpins and traffickers are still at large.
“The masterminds behind the drug trade will continue to find drug mules from those who are not well educated, ignorant or those who are desperate for quick money. Will executing any of these drug mules stop drug trafficking?” read the memorandum.”
Four Malaysians — K. Datchinamurthy, A. Gobi, Abdul Helmi Ab Halim, and Rahmat Karimon — had their clemency pleas rejected and face imminent execution.
P. Pannir Selvam, had a last-minute reprieve after his challenge of the clemency process was granted by the Singapore Court of Appeal in May.
According to Paulsen, there is controversy over the AGC’s objection to Pannir Selvam’s Malaysian solicitors’ request to attend his hearing.
Paulsen says in Selvam’s case the AGC had objected to the request and complained to the Singapore High Court that lead solicitor N Surendran had made ‘scandalous allegations against Singapore and its legal system.
Paulsen said that this amounts to a veiled threat of prosecution against the lawyer and the AGC’s conduct may have a chilling effect on other lawyers offering assistance to Malaysians in Singapore.
He urges the government of Singapore to reconsider their position in relation to Pannir Selvam and the other prisoners on death row.
Malaysiakini says Singapore performs its executions on Friday, and a number of death row prisoners are expected to executed soon. -/TISG