KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — The High Court in Singapore had earlier today rejected a court challenge by Malaysian citizen Pausi Jefridin and Singaporean Roslan Bakar against their scheduled execution, but gave them a temporary stay of execution until their appeal is heard.
Zaid Malek, head coordinator of human rights group Lawyers for Liberty, confirmed to Malay Mail that the court challenge was to seek the halt of the execution of the duo today.
He said the court challenge via a judicial review application was “also a challenge regarding the decision to execute despite their intellectual disability”.
Pausi, who is a Sabahan, has an IQ of 67 and is regarded to be mentally disabled. Roslan was also said to be mentally impaired.
Following the High Court’s dismissal, an appeal was filed today.
Zaid had on Twitter, however, questioned the haste in Singapore’s Court of Appeal in hearing the case.
“After the appeal was filed, they immediately set the hearing of the appeal at 3.15pm. This is absurd and a mockery of justice. What is so important that they have to go ahead with it today itself? Why the rush in executing these two individuals?” he wrote on Twitter.
“They gave the lawyers no time to prepare, forcing them to jump through a multitude of legal hoops. This surely is an act of bad faith and at the very core of it, breaches the principles of natural justice,” he said, adding that there would effectively be no right to be heard if court processes are rushed.
Pausi and Roslan, who are convicts on Singapore’s death row, were scheduled to be hanged today. They were not executed today as they were pursuing court challenges against their execution.
Their families were notified of the scheduled execution today just a week ago, on February 9.
Yesterday, Zaid had said the Court of Appeal in Singapore had yesterday afternoon heard and dismissed an urgent application by Pausi and Roslan for a review of their death sentence and to halt their scheduled execution today.
Zaid said yesterday a fresh judicial review application was then filed on an urgent basis yesterday evening to stop the two from being hanged to death today.
This fresh application was the one that the High Court dismissed today.
Lawyers for Liberty had on Twitter wrote earlier today that the High Court’s stay of execution for Pausi and Roslan required S$20,000 (RM62,275) in security to be paid as part of the filing of their appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Lawyers for Liberty then sought to raise funds for the two men’s security costs by directing donations to Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sebaran Kasih Malaysia, while Transformative Justice Collective member Kirsten Han also wrote on Twitter about a fundraising effort for the duo.
Zaid this afternoon confirmed to Malay Mail that an undertaking has been made to the court for the S$20,000 security costs to be paid for the appeal.
Stay of sentence of death to mentally disabled Malaysian PAUSI JEFRIDIN and ROSLAN BAKAR subject to payment of security for costs of SGD20K immediately.
HELP by donating to
PERTUBUHAN KEBAJIKAN SEBARAN KASIH MALAYSIA
— Lawyers for Liberty (@lawyers4liberty) February 16, 2022
This is an urgent fundraiser to help the families raise this $20,000 in security for the appeal. We likely need it by today. If you are in Singapore and can contribute, please use these details and add “ROSLAN” in the reference (so we know what it’s for!) https://t.co/0Nul5n8TPr
— Kirsten Han 韩俐颖 (@kixes) February 16, 2022
What led to today’s case
Both Pausi and Roslan were arrested in 2008 and sentenced to death in April 2010 over drug trafficking offences.
The Transformative Justice Collective had on February 12 said on Twitter that the lawyers for Pausi and Roslan had in 2017 applied for them to be resentenced to life imprisonment by arguing that they were couriers and suffered from an abnormality of mind due to reduced intellectual functioning, but Singapore’s High Court and Court of Appeal had in 2017 and 2018 rejected their applications for resentencing.
The Transformative Justice Collective movement had questioned why there appeared to be a “pattern” of persons assessed with low IQ levels ending up on death row.
Previously, Singapore had in November 2021 planned to execute another Malaysian citizen similarly convicted on drug trafficking charges, Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam whose IQ was 69. Nagaenthran’s execution was stayed, as he has an ongoing court challenge against the execution due to his mental disability and it has yet to be heard and decided by the courts.
Lawyers for Liberty had on February 14 said it is unacceptable to execute Pausi, when the Singapore courts have not decided on Nagaenthran’s case — in which questions were raised on the legality of executing a mentally disabled person with IQ levels of below 70.
Both Lawyers for Liberty and the Malaysian Bar had highlighted that Singapore had agreed to be bound by the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which prohibits the execution of a mentally impaired person.
Lawyers for Liberty and the Malaysian Bar had called for Singapore to halt the execution of Pausi and Roslan and to consider granting them clemency.
Yesterday, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights’ spokesman Ravina Shamdasani urged Singapore to stop the execution of Pausi and Roslan and to commute their sentences and to reform the country’s laws to end death penalties.
The United Nations Human Rights Office yesterday also said using death penalty for drug-related offences is incompatible with international human rights law as it can only be used for the most serious crimes involving intentional killing, further noting that Pausi’s Malaysia-based family had struggled to visit him amid the Covid-19 restrictions in place.
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