Lawyers from both sides of Causeway cooperate to save Malaysian citizen sentenced to die in Singapore

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The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty activists, led by human rights advocate M Ravi, are collaborating with lawyers and lawmakers from across the Causeway to save the life of a convict currently on death row, Prabagaran A/L Srivijayan (Praba).

Praba (age: 29) a Malaysian citizen was arrested on 12 April 2012 when he was just twenty-four years old, for a narcotic trafficking offence. He has been on death row for more than 4 years since 2012, and is awaiting the result of his clemency petition to the Singapore President.

Writing in his Facebook Mr Ravi said that he was extremely grateful to prominent Malaysian Human Rights Lawyers Latheefa Koya and N Surendren (also a Member of Parliament in Malaysia) for agreeing to represent Prabagaran in Malaysia.
They are considering filing an urgent application for Judicial Review in the High Court in KL for a court order to compel the Malaysian government to file an immediate complaint at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to save Prabagaran from being unlawfully executed under customary international law on account of breach of right to a fair trial in Singapore. 

Mr Ravi will be assisting this legal team with the relevant areas of research on international human right law in support of the impending Judicial Review application.

Mr Ravi said that he also met with Malaysia’s ambassador-at large for human rights, Tan Sri Dr Shafee Abdullah and briefed him on his ICJ memorandum addressed to the Malaysian government.
The Ambassador assured Mr Ravi that he will speak to the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs on Monday and do his level best to assist.

 

The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty activists allege that Praba is being deprived of his life in a manner that is in breach of the principles of the separation of powers, the fundamental rules of natural justice, and the rule of law.

“In respect of a person who has been convicted of a drug offence that is punishable with death under the Second Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), Section 33B(2)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) provides that the Public Prosecutor may certify that a person convicted of a drug offence punishable with the death penalty has substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in disrupting drug activities. If the Public Prosecutor so certifies, and if the offender is also merely a courier, then the sentencing judge has the discretion to impose life imprisonment in lieu of the death penalty. If the Public Prosecutor does not so certify, then the sentencing judge must sentence the offender to the death penalty.
As discussed above, although in this case Praba has maintained his innocence, he has, in fact, done his best to provide CNB with credible leads that could well have resulted in persons involved in drug activities (i.e., Balu and Nathan) being apprehended.”

They argue that the right to a fair trial is one of the most important fundamental human rights and that the death sentence imposed on Praba violates the right to fair trial under customary international law.

The activists said “the Public Prosecutor’s determination of whether or not substantive assistance was provided is too fluid and unstable a standard by which to determine the penalty which an offender should receive.”

In an earlier statement, they further strongly suggested that the matter should compel the Malaysian government to lodge a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and urged the Malaysian government to safeguard the life of its own citizen who is facing impending death.

The activists also urged the Malaysian government to consider several factors including the irreversibility of the death penalty and make submissions to ICJ without delay.

“In light of the punishment’s irreversibility, the very limited time available may not be enough for preparing submissions to the ICJ. Therefore, if a submission to the ICJ is to be ultimately made, that submission should ideally be made as soon as possible.”

In speaking to this publication, the activists say that Praba is likely to be executed by the State in the third week of January.