NGO questions Singapore's refusal to issue cert that could save M'sian from the gallows


  • Nation
  • Friday, 05 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: Legal advocacy group Lawyers For Liberty has questioned Singapore's refusal to issue a certificate of substantive assistance that would spare Malaysian P. Pannir Selvam from the gallows in the island nation.

Its advisor N. Surendran said Pannir, who was convicted in 2017 of trafficking 51.84g of diamorphine at Woodlands Checkpoint on Sept 3, 2014, had assisted authorities in Singapore.

A certificate of substantive assistance can be granted by the Singapore's attorney general's chambers (AGC) to say that a person who has been convicted for drug offences has assisted the authorities.

He said Singapore's refusal to issue the certificate would deprive Pannir of his life.

"The facts are clear, Pannir has assisted the authorities in Singapore.

"He has also said that he was duped by drug kingpins in Malaysia, so we are very surprised why the Singapore AGC did not issue the certificate," said Surendran in a press conference on Friday (July 5).

Also present were Pannir's siblings P. Angelia, P. Joshua and P. Isaac.

Surendran said the certificate was crucial as it would enable the court to sentence a person to life imprisonment instead of the mandatory death penalty.

He said the family would be challenging the Singapore's AGC's failure to issue the certificate.

"Here you have the (Singapore) AGC holding the power of life and death in Pannir's case.

"Not just his, many other Malaysians (caught for similar offences) also haven't gotten the certificate and are facing the gallows," he added.

Surendran said the clemency process of obtaining pardon was fundamentally flawed as letters saying he would be executed and another rejecting clemency were issued on the same date.

"How can that be? This indicates a serious flaw because surely the prison would not know the clemency has been rejected when the letter from the President's office had not been issued yet," said Surendran.

Pannir was granted a stay of execution on May 23, a day before he was to head to the gallows.

Surendran said the court had granted the stay to Pannir, on the grounds that the latter would be given time to file a judicial review to challenge the clemency process.

The hearing of the judicial review would be on July 19, he added.

Pannir's sister Angelia said her brother was a kind and helpful man who was active in sports during his younger days.

His younger brother Joshua said in the past people took advantage of his brother's kindness and tricked him.

Since Pannir, who will turn 32 on July 31, was sentenced, his family has been visiting him every month.

Angelia said the family had been struggling and even sold off some of their belongings to finance their trips to Singapore.

The family also urged the public to sign a petition at www.savepannir.info.

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