Friday, September 12, 2008

Silencing Human Rights lawyer by getting him committed to a mental institution?

They are trying to get a Human Rights lawyer committed to a mental institution in Singapore, it seems. In Malaysia, to date, the worse that they have done is to just lock you up using the Detetion Without Trial law like the ISA. That is what they have done to our Uthayakumar, Manoharan and the the others.

But, in Singapore where the government is more draconian - and freedoms are near non-existent, they are now trying to silence human rights lawyer M.Ravi by getting him to be committed to a mental institution.

In Malaysia, the Malaysian Bar would have come out in defence of the lawyer - but not in Singapore where the Bar is far from independent - and also sadly not fearless in upholding the cause of justice.

I have met and spoken to this M. Ravi, and I must state that he is a passionate Defender of Human Rights. He also advocates for the abolition of the Death Penalty - and he is certainly not 'mad' in the medical sense. I see this as just another attempt by the government of Singapore to bury once and for all this 'pain in their butt'.

The Malaysian Bar, Civil Society Groups, Human Rights Defenders and all good people must come forth to protest what is being done to Human Rights Defender M Ravi.

Lawyer fails to get himself out of IMH
Saturday, 06 September 2008, Straits Times,
by Selina Lum

A LAWYER sent to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for three weeks of
psychiatric observation failed in a High Court bid yesterday to have
himself released.

Shackled and handcuffed, M. Ravi spent more than an hour arguing his case
from the dock, during which he revealed that an IMH psychiatrist diagnosed
him as bipolar.

Ravi, 39, who often referred to himself in the third person, claimed his
continued detention at IMH was unlawful.

'The petitioner M. Ravi is a passionate lawyer with a highly stressful
practice,' he said. 'His detention is unprecedented.'

His arguments were rejected by Justice Tay Yong Kwang, who saw no reason to
overturn the earlier orders of two district judges.

Ravi faces two criminal charges of disturbing a religious prayer session
and harassment stemming from an incident at a Chinatown mosque last month.

He was sent to the IMH for observation on Aug 18. He was admitted under a
provision that allows an accused person suspected to be of unsound mind to
be detained for observation at a mental hospital for up to a month.

On Sept 1, he filed a High Court application to be released from the IMH
and also complained of being ill-treated at the hospital.

Yesterday, Ravi said he would not be pursuing his 'unsatisfactory
treatment' at IMH as things have since improved.

He argued that the law allows someone to be detained only for observation
and diagnosis, not treatment.

He contended that since he had been diagnosed, his detention should come to
an end.

He insisted he was of sound mind even though he may have made irrelevant
arguments in the past.

'I am lucid and clear in my law, in my mind and in my conscience,' he said.

IMH lawyer Kuah Boon Theng said DrKenneth Koh needs more time to complete
his evaluation of Ravi's condition.

Ms Kuah noted that Ravi, who was first diagnosed in 2006 as bipolar, had
episodes during which he would 'lose his ability to control his actions'.

She also noted that he has repeatedly refused to take his medicine in IMH.

The case so far

Aug 11: M. Ravi is charged in court. Prosecutors want him to be sent for
psychiatric assessment but the request is denied by District Judge Carol Ling.

Aug 15: Prosecutors try again, submitting a list of 14 incidents involving
Ravi. The case is adjourned after Ravi makes strange comments in court such
as claiming that the prosecutor is the one of unsound mind.

Aug 18: Judge Ling revokes Ravi's $8,000 bail and orders him to be sent to
the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Aug 28: IMH psychiatrist Kenneth Koh writes to the court, saying he needs
more time to evaluate Ravi, who is 'still unwell'.

Sept 1: District Judge Victor Yeo extends Ravi's IMH stay for another two
weeks. On the same day, Ravi files a High Court application against seven
parties: the Attorney-General, Police Commissioner, prisons director, Home
Affairs Minister, Singapore President, Asean Secretariat and IMH director.

Sept 5: Justice Tay Yong Kwang dismisses Ravi's application to be released
from IMH.

And the latest report is that

Lawyer M Ravi held on further remand in IMH till Sep 15
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 01 September 2008 1614 hrs

SINGAPORE: Lawyer M Ravi will be further remanded in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for another two weeks until September 15.

When his case came up for mention on Monday in the Subordinate Courts, the Deputy Public Prosecutor told the court that the IMH report on Ravi was not ready and the hospital needed to examine him further.

But Ravi, through his lawyer Violet Netto, argued that his own private psychiatrist was the best person to evaluate him as he had been seeing the doctor since 2006.

Ravi was charged in court on August 11 with disturbing a religious assembly.

The lawyer, who has represented the Singapore Democratic Party in previous civil cases, was allegedly disrupting evening prayers at the Jamae Chulia mosque on August 3 at about 7.30pm.

The police said the lawyer is known to have behaved violently and abusively at places of worship, the Subordinate Courts, and other public areas.

- CNA/yb

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tell this to Kit Siang who more often than not praising S'pore and over here our friend is talking about the rule of law.All are just "wayang".Probably a nation can develope better if a more draconian laws imposed.