In a Facebook post on Friday (18 September), human rights lawyer M Ravi revealed that 44-year-old Singaporean, Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin’s appeal on Judicial Review will be fixed on next Tuesday (22 September).
“I got notified by the Court that Syed’s Appeal on yesterday’s Judicial Review is fixed on Tuesday, 22 September 2020. I have also filed a Criminal Motion to reopen his case on grounds of adducing evidence in respect of the resentencing regime under Section 33B(3) to address his drug dependency and we have informed the prison of Dr Ken Ung’s availability to see Suhail on 29th September,” Mr Ravi wrote on his post.
Mr Ravi also said that he has visited Mr Syed and two other inmates on Friday while describing how’s Mr Syed feel after being granted an interim stay of execution.
“He first thanked everyone who fought to save his life and sends his prayers to all of you. He was visibly distressed because he said he was only told at 9pm that he won’t be executed and he nor the family members, friends and relatives were aware and the last the call he made was to his uncle in KL at about 6.30pm. His sisters and friends cried so much….”
For those who are not aware of the case, the High Court has ordered an interim stay of execution for Syed’s death sentence on Thursday (17 September) after his lawyer, Mr Ravi successfully filed a criminal motion and appeal to contest the dismissal of the Judical Review Application that was heard earlier in the morning on the same day.
Mr Syed had been scheduled to be hanged on today at Changi Prison for drug trafficking offences committed back in August 2011.
In January 2016, Singapore’s High Court found Mr Syed guilty of trafficking under 40 grams of heroin, court documents stated. The judgement pointed out that he is unable to prove that he was keeping the drugs for personal consumption, citing cost and financial difficulties. The documents also noted that Mr Syed sold a packet of heroin to a man for S$5,700.
As a result, he was convicted under the Misuse of Drug Act and was sentenced to death for drug trafficking.
Then, on 10 September this year, Mr Syed’s family received a letter informing them that Mr Syed will be executed on this Friday and encouraged them to make funeral arrangements. His family was only told about his planned execution eight days earlier, and only allowed to visit him four hours per day.
Due to the border closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of his close relatives who reside in Malaysia are not permitted to visit him.
After knowing the date of his execution, Mr Syed sent a handwritten letter on Tuesday (15 September) to his lawyer, Mr Ravi, seeking for his help.
Mr Ravi also noted that he is taking the case on a pro bono basis, and his team has hope.
About 55 people will face “imminent execution” in the coming weeks or months, which may record as the “highest per capita execution in the world”, says M Ravi
Writing on his post, Mr Ravi said he understand from Mr Syed that, 55 people will be facing “imminent execution” in Singapore over the coming weeks or months which may record as the “highest per capita execution in the world” if there is no contradiction from the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
Out of 55, according to Mr Syed, about 30 are Singaporean Malays – made up of more 50 per cent, and about 20 are Indians – mostly are Malaysian Indians and the rest are Singapore Indian, while the others are Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese, Mr Ravi said.
“These are based on his [Mr Syed] calculation of the 55 in death row facing imminent execution, anytime now,” he wrote on his post.
Mr Ravi however suggested that “there is risk of a wrongful execution” as he discovered each of the case.
“There is a development at AG [Attorney-General]’s office which is very serious and I’m briefing the international community of this now. This development will affect all 55 cases and I will make a case why all 55 can’t be executed,” he noted.
He continued, “I have sought the legal opinion of Mr. Sri Ram, former Federal Court Judge of Malaysia who is currently the lead prosecutor in Najib Razak’s trial. Mr Sri Ram has read the scandalous disclosure to the Court of Appeal by SC [Senior Counsel] Francis Ng today of the possession of confidential letters of Syed Suhail being in the AG’s possession and the AG’s undertaking to destroy them.
“This is a serious breach and will render the entire prosecutorial process as being biased given the latest ruling by the Court of Appeal in a case that I was threatened by AG, that ruled that the prison cannot pass to AGC such letters written to lawyers or family members.”
He added that he will make update when he makes the relevant application and will make detailed arguments there.
“In the circumstances please write to Singapore Cabinet to stay all executions pending a Committee of Inquiry into this matter as the pending executions violate local and international human rights law on the right to life and right to fair trial and equality.
“In public interest, Francis Ng SC should disqualify himself from acting further in Syed Suhail’s matter arising from potential conflict of interest. The AG needs to explain on this matter of life and death issue immediately whilst my clients reserve their rights against the AG and Francis Ng.
“Mr. Sri Ram is prepared to argue before the Singapore courts on the aforesaid unlawfulness of the execution and all matters stated above. I will be making an application to have Mr Sri Ram appear with me as Mr Sri Ram had been admitted to Singapore Bar,” Mr Ravi wrote.
Having said this, Mr Ravi also revealed that he is perusing the material of Moad Fadzir, who has been informed yesterday (17 September) of his execution next Thursday.
It was reported that Moad Fadzir bin Mustaffa, 40-year-old warehouse assistant was found guilty of drug trafficking in February this year and was sentenced to death.