Singapore—Human rights lawyer Ravi M. Ravi is currently representing, on a pro bono basis, 22 inmates facing execution.
Mr Ravi had a hearing on Monday (Jan 18) concerning the correspondence of several of the inmates, which had been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) without their authorisation, he claimed in a Facebook post on Saturday (Jan 16).
He further said in his post that he is up against two teams with a “huge amount of resources,” with the AG represented by a team headed by Wong Partnership Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, and the Prisons by Senior Counsel Abraham Vergis and his team.
Mr Ravi also wrote that during the pre-action discovery proceeding in the case of Syed Suhail, it came to light that the inmate’s private letter to his appeal lawyer, which he says is a “confidential document (privileged document),” had been sent by the Prisons to the AGC.
Furthermore, he wrote, “Deputy AG Mr Hri Kumar through his affidavit has disclosed that 13 out of the 22 inmates had their correspondence forwarded to AG’s office. This was done without authorisation and in breach of the Prison Regulations and common law protection.”
Mr Ravi is asking the court for the names of the “legal officers/public servants who came into possession of the subject documents” and if they had requested these documents.
These names have not been disclosed, as Mr Ravi made clear in his court submission on Monday (Jan 18).
He wrote that “the Defendants are unable to explain why it is just and fair to shield public officers involved in misconduct from accountability.”
Mr Ravi also made it clear that the complaint of the men he was representing is due to the fact that their correspondence was requested in the first place, as well as the fact that it had been forwarded without authorization.
He also made the point that “Public officers and servants are not immune from the law.”
Moreover, public officers and servants upholding the law is one of the main foundations of the rule of law, he added.
In the court submission, he also explained why the Plaintiffs were seeking the disclosure of the persons involved in sending the correspondence in the first place.
“So that they may confirm whether or not they have a cause of action to bring and who might be the proper parties to such potential claims. It is patently obvious that without knowing the identities of the actors involved, and what was disclosed, the Plaintiffs cannot assess their legal remedies or bring any such claims.”
Furthermore, the Plaintiffs also sought to obtain copies of the documents that had been sent, as this would allow them to determine the “extent of the harm” caused, something Mr Ravi said is “perfectly consistent with the purpose and intent of the pre-action disclosure.”
TISG will update the story as it develops.
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