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Josephine Teo rejects Transformative Justice Collective’s application to cancel correction direction

SINGAPORE— Minister for Communications and Information, Josephine Teo, who also serves as the Second Minister for Home Affairs, had dismissed an application made by the Transformative Justice Collective (TJC) seeking the cancellation of a correction direction issued to them under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

On Friday (19 May), Mrs Josephine Teo instructed the POFMA Office to issue Correction Directions to a series of Facebook posts and articles published by several individuals and groups, including a TJC’s Facebook post on 23 April.

These posts pertain to a 46-year-old Singaporean Tamil, Tangaraju S/O Suppiah who was executed by the Singapore Government on 26 April over an alleged conspiracy to smuggle one kilogram of cannabis.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a press release that the social media posts and articles contained “false statements” about the capital sentence that was given to Tangaraju, including being denied an interpreter during the recording of his statement and that he was later found to be not guilty.

The Singaporean anti-death advocacy group later applied to the Minister to cancel or vary the order.

According to a statement issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday (30 May), MHA stated that the conditions for issuing the Correction Direction are satisfied, and the application did not disclose any grounds to the contrary.

“After having carefully considered the Application, the Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs has decided to reject it. TJC has been notified of the rejection.”

On 23 April, TJC noted that activists have highlighted serious problems with the evidence used to convict Tangaraju, while he had never touched the drugs, and was convicted on circumstantial evidence.

The post called on President Halimah Yacob to halt his imminent execution. Tangaraju’s family are also pleading for the courts to review his conviction and sentence.

Despite international calls to halt the execution and reconsider Singapore’s use of capital punishment, Singapore executed Tangaraju on 26 April.

TJC post mentioned that Tangaraju’s requests for a Tamil interpreter during the recording of his statement were denied, which the Singapore government argued that the statement is false, and was rejected by the High Court.

According to Factually, the High Court found this bare allegation, raised for the first time during Tangaraju’s cross-examination, to be disingenuous given Tangaraju’s admission that he had made no such request for any of the other statements subsequently recorded from him.

The clarification added that Tangaraju was accorded full due process under the law. He was represented by legal counsel and had access to an interpreter throughout his trial.

TJC has 14 days to file an application to the High Court to set aside the correction direction.

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