M Ravi in Europe to campaign against death penalty in S’pore

Lawyer Mr M Ravi is currently in Europe campaigning for human rights and against the mandatory death sentence for drug peddlers in Singapore.

On Monday, 29 Jan 07, he was invited by the European Parliament to address the issue of the death penalty in Singapore at a sub-committee hearing.

The hearing, witnessed by approximately 200 observers, were “shocked beyond belief” when Mr Ravi recounted the facts and findings of the trial judge, Mr Kan Ting Chiu, on Amara Tochis case before he was executed last Friday.

Mr Ravi said: “I must say that it was the most engaging session I ever had and the outcome was a roaring success.”

The European Parliamentary commitee ackowledged whilst there was progress in China on the death penalty, the situation in Singapore is alarming and regressive.

The Singaporean lawyer added how Singapore was a big drag on the progress of human rights in Southeast Asia and slowed down the pace of democratisation of ASEAN countries, as well as China.

During the Q & A session following his speech, Members of Parliament urged the European Union to take a more active role in dealing with the Singapore Government. They also suggested that death penalty issues could be linked to trade relations with Singapore as part of the Europes policy.

During the cocktail reception that followed the hearing hosted by Quebec and Canada, some prominent officials of the European Parliament approached Mr Ravi and assured him that Singapore will be “placed on the radar.”

They also conveyed their deepest condolences to Tochis family and stated that the deceased’s matter would be brought to the attention of the United Nations Sub-Committee on Human Rights. The use of mandatory death sentence and lack of fair trial in Singapore would also be raised at the subsequent meetings at the UN.

Mr Ravi also had a meeting with the European Commission which is looking into the possibility of funding a study on the mandatory death sentence vis-à-vis international customary law.

Apart from attending the hearing in Brussels, Mr Ravi will also be in Paris to attend a three-day conference organized by the World Coalition Against Death Penalty. The conference is the largest ever convened on the death penalty with participants from sixty countries attending. A public demonstration against the death penalty is planned for this Saturday.

Separately, Mr Ravi is meeting the vice-president of Lawyers of the World as well as representatives of Lawyers Without Borders to discuss the issue the use of defamation suits by the PAP. He will also highlight the plight of Falungong practitioners who have been repeatedly prosecuted for exercising their rights to free speech and assembly

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