Wednesday, June 29, 2022
AsiaMalaysia'Stop the affront Singapore' says group in aftermath of hanging case

‘Stop the affront Singapore’ says group in aftermath of hanging case

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Kuala Lumpur – The hanging of a Malaysian for drug trafficking last month is still up for debate in Malaysia and this time, it is a group comprising 20 civil society organisations that have criticised Singapore’s Court of Appeal for ordering Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s lawyers to personally pay the cost,

According to local media here, the cost amounts to S$20,000 (RM64,000) and has to be paid to the country’s Attorney-General’s Chambers or AGC.

The AGC had originally sought S$40,000 from the lawyers in question, M Ravi and Violet Netto, for attempting to delay Nagaenthran’s execution by filing unmeritorious applications, they said in a statement.

Unnecessary costs were stated to have been incurred as a result of this.

“What is even more shocking is that the five-judge Court of Appeal, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, makes this cost order a month after the said lawyers’ client, Nagaenthran, had been executed,” said the group.

They expressed their frustrations with the order, calling it an affront to the right to a fair trial and justice.

“This will seriously impact the ability of lawyers and their clients from doing the needful, including the filing of needed applications in the defence of their clients.

“Whilst in some jurisdictions, it seems possible that the court can order the defendant/accused/convicted person to pay the cost to the prosecution, it is rare.

“Such laws or practices ought to be repealed,” they said.

Twenty local and international civil society organisations signed the statement, including Aliran, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet), the North-South Initiative, Black Women for Housework Wages, and Lawyers Collective (India).

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The Singapore court did not order the defendant to pay the cost to the prosecution, said the group.

“The existence of laws, and this action of the Singapore court ordering lawyers to personally pay the cost of prosecution, is a violation of, amongst others, of Rule 16 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers,” they said.

Governments must ensure that lawyers are allowed to exercise all professional tasks without fear of intimidation or inappropriate intervention, according to Rule 16.

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