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M Ravi

M Ravi invited to consultation with UN

By Andrew Loh Singapore lawyer, Mr M Ravi, has been invited by the United Nations to attend its consultation with experts on the various issues relating to the imposition and implementation of the death penalty. The 2-day session, to be held at Harvard Law School, United States, on the 25 and 26 of June, will place particular emphasis on the notion of the “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty continues to be imposed. The invitation to Mr Ravi is from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr Christof Heyns; and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr Juan Méndez. Others who have also been invited to the consultation include representatives from Amnesty International, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (Uganda), the International Harm Reduction Association, the International Commission against the Death Penalty, and the Center for International Human Rights, among others. Three key issues will dominate the discussions: The notion of the “most serious crimes”. The session will discuss the ways in which it has been applied by domestic legislators and courts, and the remaining challenges. Complicity: Under this item, experts will focus…

Dr Lim Hock Siew – a lesson in resilience, strength and humility

Dr Lim Hock Siew, detained for almost 20 years in 1963, passed away on 4 June 2012. He was 81. The first that I’d heard of Dr Lim Hock Siew was when Martyn See wrote about him on his blog and later when he made that video of a speech by Dr Lim in 2010. Swiftly, the Media Development Authority (MDA) banned that film in July that year. The film remains banned till this day because, the authorities say, it is “against the public’s interest” for it to be allowed to be shown. I then had the opportunity to meet Dr Lim on several occasions, most notably a private session conducted by Function8, where Dr Lim related his side of the story of the events leading up to his incarceration in 1963’s Operation Coldstore. He would remain detained in jail for almost 20 years under the Internal Security Act (ISA). More… As with all ISA detainees, he was never charged or given the chance to defend himself in a court of law. The label – “ISA detainee” – conjures frightening imagery for some people. These detainees must be unpatriotic insurgents capable of heinous crimes and activities, such as rioting, using…

Court to hear Hougang by-election case

The High Court on Tuesday dismissed the attorney general’s arguments to have the application by Vellama Marie Muthu thrown out. Vellama’s application sought the court to determine the Prime Minister’s discretionary powers in calling by-elections in Singapore. In doing so, the courts have granted Vellama’s application for leave to have her case heard. In essence, Judge Philip Pillai’s decision means Vellama, through her lawyer M Ravi, has satisfied the Court that there is an arguable case against the State and that the courts recognise the need for clarification on the constitutional questions raised by Vellama in her application. Last Friday, lawyers representing the two sides were in Pillai’s chambers for three hours presenting their arguments. The attorney general was represented by chief counsel David Chong and senior state counsel Hema Subramanian. On Tuesday, Judge Pillai decided that there is a prima facie case to be heard in open court and ordered two days to be set aside for it. The hearing will take place at 10 am on 16 April, with 17 April reserved for the proceedings if required. The proceedings will be open to the public.…