Two Malaysians on death row in Singapore’s Changi prison have filed a lawsuit against the Singaporean Attorney-General seeking a declaration that an alleged threat against their legal counsel is in breach of their right to a fair trial, said Lawyers For Liberty (LFL).
Among others, death row prisoners Gobi Avedian and Datchinamurthy Kataiah are also seeking a prohibitory order for the stay of their execution pending investigations into allegations of brutal and unlawful hanging methods in Changi prison.
In a supporting affidavit, Datchinamurthy claimed the representatives from the Singaporean Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had made an alleged threat against his and Gobi’s lawyer M Ravi on Feb 4 during a pre-trial conference before a registrar.
Datchinamurthy said the representatives had said “We reserve our rights against Mr M Ravi” during the conference.
“Ravi attempted to seek clarification or explanation from the defendant’s representatives regarding their statement against him repeatedly during the pre-trial conference.
“Despite the repeated attempt by Ravi, there was no explanation or clarification forthcoming from the defendant’s representatives or since then from the defendant.
“We are advised by our solicitors and verily believe that the statement by the defendant’s representatives is an express or implied threat against our legal counsel Ravi,” read the affidavit, which was provided by LFL.
As such, Datchinamurthy said in his affidavit that they believe this supposed threat is an interference with their rights to a fair hearing and independent legal counsel as guaranteed in the Singaporean constitution.
Previously, LFL had claimed that brutal and unlawful hanging methods were used in Changi prison including kicks to snap prisoners’ necks.
The Singapore government later claimed that LFL’s allegations contained “false statements of fact”.
The Singaporean 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.
After that, LFL filed a suit in 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 the plaintiffs.