Lawyers For Liberty (LFL) and the Singapore Govt…

.

SINGAPORE — Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam has rejected an application by The Online Citizen (TOC) to cancel a correction direction issued to it under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

The correction direction was issued on Jan 22 against a statement by Malaysian human rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), along with an online article by TOC and separate Facebook posts by activist Kirsten Han and Yahoo Singapore. LFL claimed that Singapore carries out “brutal executions”.

In its press release on Friday (Jan 24), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said: “The conditions for the issuance of the Correction Direction had been satisfied, and the Application did not disclose any grounds to the contrary.”

Minister Shanmugam decided to reject the application after “having carefully considered it”, MHA said, adding that TOC has been notified.

The ministry said the article published by TOC on Jan 16 contained falsehoods asserting that “prison officers were instructed to carry out the following brutal procedure whenever the rope breaks during a hanging, which happens from time to time.”

It went on to list what it said were the falsehoods in the TOC article:

The prison officer is instructed to pull the rope around the neck of the prisoner towards him.

Meanwhile, another prison officer will apply pressure by pulling the body in the opposite direction.

The first officer must then kick the back of the neck of the prisoner with great force in order to break it.

The officers are told to kick the back of the neck because that would be consistent with death by hanging.

The officers are told not to kick more than 2 times, so that there will be no tell-tale marks in case there is an autopsy.

Strict orders are also given not to divulge the above to other prison staff not involved in executions.

The correction direction was issued to TOC on Jan 22, the same day MHA issued its statement refuting the allegations as “untrue, baseless and preposterous”.

“For the record, the rope used for judicial executions has never broken before, and prison officers certainly do not receive any ‘special training to carry out the brutal execution method’ as alleged,” said MHA.

“Any acts such as those described in the LFL statement would have been thoroughly investigated and dealt with.”

TOC was required to insert a correction notice stating that the article contained false statements of fact, with a link to a Factually article that sets out the correct facts.

In its statement on Jan 22 refuting the article, MHA said: “LFL has been publishing various falsehoods to seek attention in hopes of getting Malaysian prisoners, who have been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Singapore, off the death penalty,” said MHA.

“Regrettably, there are some individuals and groups in Singapore who are spreading LFL’s latest allegations,” it added.

Following the issuing of the correction directions, TOC said it had filed an application to Mr Shanmugam to cancel the correction order.

On Jan 23, Yahoo Singapore added a correction notice to its Facebook post after sharing an article that repeated claims made by LFL.

A check by CNA on the Facebook post’s edit history showed that the notice was added to the post on the morning of Jan 23, a day after the correction direction was issued by the Pofma office.

LFL said it would not comply with the correction direction or challenge it.

“We decline to challenge the order in Singapore courts because Singapore has no jurisdiction over us,” LFL adviser N Surendran told CNA. CNA

Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/shanmugam-rejects-tocs-application-cancel-correction-direction-article-execution-methods?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

..

Excerpts from:

Malaysian watchdog sues Singapore home minister K. Shanmugam, challenges fake news law

  • Lawyers for Liberty says the island nation’s use of the Pofma law is an attempt to ‘stifle or crack down on freedom of speech in Malaysia’
  • The rights group had claimed prison officers in the island nation had been instructed to carry out a “brutal procedure” during hanging

Tashny Sukumaran
Published: 4:00pm, 24 Jan, 2020

Malaysian human rights watchdog Lawyers for Liberty has filed a suit against Singaporean Home Minister K. Shanmugam, just days after it was accused of breaching Singapore’s anti-fake news laws.The group’s lawyers on Friday filed an originating summons in the Malaysian High Court, and are also seeking a declaration that Shanmugam cannot take any action against the group in Malaysia under Singapore’s new Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

The group is arguing the law is a violation of fundamental human rights and cannot be enforced in Malaysia as it goes against domestic public policy.

Although the two neighbouring nations have a long-standing reciprocal agreement to recognise and execute warrants of arrest, going against national public policy is one of the exceptions to the enforcement of foreign judgments.

“The reason we brought this suit is that it’s an attempt by Singapore to encroach upon, stifle or crack down on freedom of speech in Malaysia. It is an attempt to reach out their tentacles and impose their own oppressive fake news act on Malaysians issuing statements in Malaysia,” said Lawyers for Liberty adviser N. Surendran, an anti-death penalty activist and former member of parliament who is named as one of the plaintiffs in the suit, alongside Lawyers for Liberty director Melissa Sasidaran and the organisation itself.

Lawyers for Liberty has argued in the Malaysian High Court that Singapore’s anti-fake news law is a violation of fundamental human rights and cannot be enforced in Malaysia. Photo: Bloomberg
Lawyers for Liberty has argued in the Malaysian High Court that Singapore’s anti-fake news law is a violation of fundamental human rights and cannot be enforced in Malaysia. Photo: Bloomberg

Lawyers for Liberty has argued in the Malaysian High Court that Singapore’s anti-fake news law is a violation of fundamental human rights and cannot be enforced in Malaysia. Photo: BloombergMalaysian human rights watchdog Lawyers for Liberty has filed a suit against Singaporean Home Minister K. Shanmugam, just days after it was accused of breaching Singapore’s anti-fake news laws.The group’s lawyers on Friday filed an originating summons in the Malaysian High Court, and are also seeking a declaration that Shanmugam cannot take any action against the group in Malaysia under Singapore’s new Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

The group is arguing the law is a violation of fundamental human rights and cannot be enforced in Malaysia as it goes against domestic public policy.

A protest against capital punishment in Singapore. Malaysia’s Lawyers for Liberty alleged that execution methods in Singapore were brutal and unlawful. Photo: AFP

A protest against capital punishment in Singapore. Malaysia’s Lawyers for Liberty alleged that execution methods in Singapore were brutal and unlawful. Photo: AFP

Although the two neighbouring nations have a long-standing reciprocal agreement to recognise and execute warrants of arrest, going against national public policy is one of the exceptions to the enforcement of foreign judgments.

“The reason we brought this suit is that it’s an attempt by Singapore to encroach upon, stifle or crack down on freedom of speech in Malaysia. It is an attempt to reach out their tentacles and impose their own oppressive fake news act on Malaysians issuing statements in Malaysia,” said Lawyers for Liberty adviser N. Surendran, an anti-death penalty activist and former member of parliament who is named as one of the plaintiffs in the suit, alongside Lawyers for Liberty director Melissa Sasidaran and the organisation itself.ADVERTISING

The group is represented by top human rights lawyers Ambiga Sreenevasan and Gurdial Singh Nijar.

“If they extend this law extraterritorially they are applying their laws to citizens of this country to prevent them from exercising fundamental rights given under our Constitution,” said Gurdial, adding that the courts had to decide if public policy would override Singapore’s claim to sovereignty in this instance.

Gurdial encouraged Shanmugam to waive his claim to state immunity on the basis of rule of law, and have the matter adjudicated “not in Singaporean courts but in a neutral area like Malaysia, where our citizens are directly affected.”

The South China Morning Post has reached out to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs for comment.

Pofma was invoked against Lawyers for Liberty after it claimed in a statement that prison officers in Singapore had been instructed to carry out a “brutal procedure” during hanging, and that hanging methods were “unlawful”.

It said officers were “told to kick the back of the neck” of prisoners whenever the rope broke because that would be “consistent with death by hanging”.

“The officers are told not to kick more than two times, so that there will be no telltale marks in case there is an autopsy,” said the Lawyers for Liberty statement.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs refuted the claims, saying they were “untrue, baseless and preposterous”.

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3047550/malaysian-watchdog-accused-singapore-brutal-execution-methods

..

Rights group LFL to sue Singapore’s home minister

FMT Reporters -January 23, 2020 5:39 PM

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty will file a suit against Singapore’s home minister tomorrow over a directive issued over a claim the rights group made on brutal extralegal execution methods carried out at Changi Prison.

Last week, LFL claimed it received evidence of brutal execution methods by prison guards in the event the hanging procedure fails during execution.

Its adviser N Surendran alleged that if the rope broke during a hanging, a prison officer would pull the rope that was around the neck of the prisoner towards him.

“Meanwhile, another prison officer will apply pressure by pulling the body in the opposite direction.”

Saying the details were shared by a former executioner at Changi Prison, Surendran said prison guards would kick the convict’s back “with great force in order to break it”, while ensuring there would be no tell-tale marks in case there was an autopsy.

Singapore’s home ministry said the claims were “untrue, baseless and preposterous allegations”, adding that all judicial executions in the state were carried out in strict compliance with the law.

It also instructed the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 (Pofma) office to issue a “correction direction” against LFL’s statement on its website.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/01/23/rights-group-lfl-to-sue-singapores-home-minister/

..

Excerpts from:

Malaysia-based NGO rejects Pofma order by MHA, says direction in breach of international law
By NG JUN SEN

Published22 JANUARY, 2020UPDATED 23 JANUARY, 2020
217 Shares

SINGAPORE — Malaysia’s Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has refused to comply with the Singapore Government’s latest correction direction for publishing falsehoods, claiming that its article on death row prisoners in the Republic was based on “evidence” from former and current Singapore prison officers.

Instead the Malaysian non-governmental organisation has called for the directives, which were issued under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), to be withdrawn unconditionally and with immediate effect.

The organisation also asked for the same rescission for the orders issued to freelance journalist Kirsten Han, sociopolitical site The Online Citizen (TOC) and news portal Yahoo Singapore.

In a rebuttal titled “Singapore must withdraw threats of POFMA criminal proceedings against LFL and Singapore activists”, the group defended its original Jan 16 article, which claimed that prisoners on death row in Singapore were executed in a brutal manner. It said that its article was based on “evidence” from former and current Singapore prison officers with “impeccable service records”.

However, the statement stopped short of identifying these officers. LFL previously said its Jan 16 article was based on information received from one Singapore prison officer.

LFL also criticised Pofma as “an oppressive and undemocratic” law that was passed amid controversy. “It has been condemned internationally as a weapon by Singapore to stifle dissent or criticism.”

The author of the original article is N Surendran, a former Malaysian Member of Parliament for Padang Serai from the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition government and ex-vice president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. He had on numerous occasions previously lobbied against the execution of Malaysian drug mules in Singapore.

LFL also argued that the Singapore law infringed on Malaysian citizens’ right to free speech.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable for Singapore to issue a notice under their Pofma to a Malaysian organisation such as LFL, which is operating and issuing statements on Malaysian soil,” the organisation’s director Melissa Sasidaran said.

“This is nothing short of an attempt to silence us and prevent the truth about the manner of executions from coming out.

“Singapore should learn to accept criticism. They have no monopoly over what constitutes facts and the truth.

“This attempt by Singapore to extend their jurisdiction to Malaysian citizens across the Causeway is provocative, illegal and in breach of international law,” the statement added.

TODAY has reached out to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for comment. The ministry had instructed the Pofma Office to issue the directions on Wednesday morning.

It said that the LFL article, which claimed to have information from a Singapore Prison Service officer who had served at the execution chamber in Changi Prison and carried out executions, were “untrue, baseless and preposterous”.

“No effort is spared to ensure that all judicial executions in Singapore are carried out in strict compliance with the law,” said the MHA. “Any acts such as those described in the LFL statement would have been thoroughly investigated and dealt with.”

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/malaysia-based-ngo-rejects-pofma-order-mha-says-direction-breach-international-law

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s