LFL alleges Singapore ‘threat’ against lawyer for Malaysians on death row

Lawyer for Singapore death row inmate P. Pannir Selvam’s family, N. Surendran speaks during a press conference in Petaling Jaya July 5, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Lawyer for Singapore death row inmate P. Pannir Selvam’s family, N. Surendran speaks during a press conference in Petaling Jaya July 5, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The Lawyers for Liberty group has interpreted a message from the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore as a threat meant to hamper the legal representation of Malaysians facing death sentences in the republic.

According to the group, the island-state’s AGC sent a letter to lawyer N. Surendran last Friday that was critical of his public comments over the cases of P. Pannir Selvam and four other Malaysians.

The LFL said the letter contained an accusation against Surendran of making “scandalous allegations against Singapore and its legal system, including accusing Singapore of acting in total disregard of international legal norms and decent world opinion.”

Noting Singapore’s propensity to launch committal proceedings or defamation lawsuits against its critics, the LFL considered the letter to be a veiled warning against the Malaysian lawyer.

“It is a calculated attempt to sabotage Pannir’s legal team, as well as hindering legal assistance from Malaysia for the other Malaysian prisoners.

“In doing so, Singapore is also in flagrant breach of international law and standards; the right to be provided legal assistance is enshrined in Article 14(3)(d) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” LFL director Melissa Sasidaran said in a statement.

The LFL went on to demand that Singapore withdraw the “unwarranted threat” and urged Putrajaya to intervene in the cases of Pannir and four other Malaysian drug mules facing death sentences in the republic.

Surendran is the lead Malaysian lawyer and an instructing solicitor to the Singapore lawyers representing Pannir in court.

The former Padang Serai MP is also acting as counsel for the four other Malaysians.

He previously issued a statement describing Singapore as going on an “execution binge” and was criticised for the remark by the country’s Home Affairs Ministry.

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