Move to disbar death row inmate’s lead counsel in Singapore

21 Aug 2019 / 11:52 H.

PETALING JAYA: Mentally challenged death row inmate Nagaenthran Dharmalingam has been confronted with yet another challenge – the Singapore attorney-general is seeking to disbar his lead counsel M. Ravi.

Attorney-General Lucien Wong filed a complaint against Ravi with the Singapore Law Society on Monday for allegedly “prejudicing the administration of justice”.

This is likely to lead to Ravi being disbarred in Singapore, according to Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) legal adviser N. Surendran.

Ravi, a Singapore lawyer and prominent human rights activist, is representing Nagaenthran, a Malaysian, in his quest for a pardon after being convicted for drug trafficking.

Nagaenthran had been sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Singapore and is awaiting execution at Changi Prison.

Surendran is appealing to Singapore authorities to “stop persecuting” Ravi.

“We condemn this high-handed action against Ravi and demand that Singapore drops all charges against him. We further demand that Singapore ceases and desists from further threatening or interfering with the lawyers of Malaysian death row prisoners,” he said when contacted yesterday.

“We also urge the Malaysian government to make urgent representations to Singapore in protest against the continual persecution and threats against the lawyers of Malaysian death row prisoners,” he added.

Surendran had previously claimed that Singapore had forgone norms that were observed under international law and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Nagaenthran has been in prison for a decade, with eight of those years served on death row. LFL has been collaborating with Ravi, who represents Nagaenthran’s family, to get him pardoned.

Nagaenthran was arrested in Singapore in 2009 for trying to smuggle 42.72g of heroin into the republic. The drugs were strapped to his thigh.

He was found guilty of drug trafficking in November 2011.

Nagaenthran has an “extremely low range of functioning”, according to the internationally recognised WAIS-IV test, which measures cognitive abilities.

It was reported that Nagaenthran had an IQ of 69 and this was accepted and affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Singapore.

An IQ of 90 to 110 is considered average.

Nagaenthran’s first appeal had been to seek sentence under amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act that were passed in 2012.

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