High Court dismisses M’sian death row prisoner’s bid to challenge rejection of clemency

The High Court on Wed (12 Feb) dismissed a Malaysian death row prisoner’s challenge against the rejection of his plea for clemency.

Pannir Selvam Pranthaman has subsequently applied for leave to commence judicial review proceedings.

His lawyer Too Xing Ji told The Straits Times that Mr Pannir will be making an appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Mr Pannir was convicted of trafficking in 51.84g of diamorphine into Singapore in May 2017.

He was granted a stay of execution in May last year. However, a procedural application he made was dismissed by the High Court in Jul the same year.

Following that, the family of Mr Pannir — alongside the families of other Malaysian death row prisoners in Changi Prison, and activists from human rights organisations including Lawyers for Liberty and Amnesty International — submitted a memorandum to President Halimah Yacob in a bid to appeal for clemency for Gobi s/o Avedian and Datchinamurthy s/o Kataiah.

The memorandum called upon Mdm Halimah and the Government of Singapore to reconsider the death penalty, particularly against drug mules “while the drug kingpins and traffickers are still at large”.

“We hope that you, Madam President, and the Government of Singapore would take a moment to reconsider the death penalty. It has proven not to be an effective deterrent and will not improve crime rates or trends in Singapore,” the memorandum read.

Gobi s/o Avedian, Datchinamurthy s/o Kataiah sue S’pore A-G over threat to their counsel M Ravi

Mr Gobi and Mr Datchinamurthy recently sued the Attorney-General of Singapore over a threat allegedly made against their Singapore lawyer M Ravi regarding an application they recently made to the High Court.

In an affidavit filed by Mr Datchinamurthy on Mon (10 Feb), it was alleged that representatives of the Attorney-General told the court during a pre-trial conference on 4 Feb that they “reserve” their “rights against Mr. M Ravi”.

Mr Datchinamurthy and Mr Gobi made an application against the Attorney-General and the Home Affairs Minister for the purpose of halting their execution and to provide protection for a former Singapore Prison Services (SPS) officer who is willing to testify regarding their case.

Mr Datchinamurthy claimed that despite Mr M Ravi’s repeated attempts to seek clarification from the Attorney-General’s representatives regarding their statement, he was not given any explanation regarding the statement.

The Malaysian death row prisoner subsequently deduced — following advice from the solicitors representing him and Mr Gobi — that the statement made by the Attorney-General’s representatives was “an express or implied threat” against Mr M Ravi.

The Attorney-General’s representatives’ statement, he added, is “an interference with our rights to a fair hearing and independent legal counsel” as provided for under Article 9 of the Singapore Constitution.

The right to a fair hearing, Mr Datchinamurthy said, is “a universal right” the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, and is “a widely accepted principle” under customary international law.

The High Court will hold a hearing on Mr Datchinamurthy and Mr Gobi’s lawsuit at a later date.

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