Malaysian escapes gallows after Singapore's Court of Appeal reverses death sentence

PETALING JAYA: Singapore’s Court of Appeal has set aside a previous death sentence it meted out to Gobi Avedian, a Malaysian who was convicted of drug trafficking.

Lawyer M. Ravi said that Singapore’s top court reviewed its previous decision of sentencing Gobi to death on the account of a miscarriage of justice.

Gobi, 32, will instead serve a 15-year-jail sentence that the High Court had given him in 2017.

“The Court of Appeal concluded that the previous decision is demonstrability wrong and Gobi has suffered from a miscarriage of justice, ” said Ravi on Monday (Oct 19).

Ravi said the case made judicial history in Singapore because all legal avenues had run their course, including a clemency appeal that had been rejected by the Singapore President.

“It is very difficult to succeed in getting leave to reopen the case in the Court of Appeal aside from the fact that it is not easy to set aside a death sentence, ” said Ravi, who has been fighting for the reopening of several similar cases.

Ravi said Gobi wanted to make it his mission in Malaysia to work on death penalty cases.

Gobi, who was a security guard, had been charged in the High Court with importing 40.22g of heroin, but the judge believed his account that he did not know the bundles he was carrying contained heroin and reduced his charge.

In 2017, Gobi was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the High Court but following an appeal by the prosecution, the Court of Appeal convicted him of the original charge.

Lawyer's For Liberty advisor N. Surendran said that they were overjoyed by the amazing decision and it gives them cautious hope on the other cases of Malaysians facing the gallows in Singapore.

“It shows the willingness of the court to relook at their decision. It gives us some hope, although cautiously, for the other cases, ” he said.

Gobi was previously reported by the Straits Times to have earned between S$1,400 (RM4,226) and S$1,850 (RM5,585) a month as a security guard, and that he turned to transporting drugs because he needed money to pay for his daughter's medical fees.

He was offered RM500 for each packet of "chocolate drugs" delivered to Singapore.

Gobi was reported to have said he delivered drugs into Singapore "eight or nine" times before he was caught at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Dec 11,2014.

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