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Sabahan with IQ of 67 loses latest bid to stop death sentence in Singapore

Malay Mail logo Malay Mail 16/2/2022 Ida Lim
The Court of Appeal in Singapore had yesterday afternoon heard and dismissed an urgent application by Pausi and Roslan. — Reuters pic © Provided by Malay Mail The Court of Appeal in Singapore had yesterday afternoon heard and dismissed an urgent application by Pausi and Roslan. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Malaysian citizen Pausi Jefridin today lost his appeal to stop his execution in Singapore, human rights group Lawyers for Liberty confirmed.

Pausi, who is a Sabahan, and Singaporean Roslan Bakar were both scheduled to be hanged today over drug trafficking convictions, but both pursued court challenges that were heard today.

Pausi has an IQ of 67 and is regarded to be intellectually disabled. Roslan was also said to be mentally impaired.

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.

Yesterday evening, a fresh judicial review application was filed on an urgent basis to stop the two from being hanged to death today and to challenge Singapore’s decision to execute them despite their intellectual disability.

Earlier today, the High Court in Singapore heard and dismissed their court challenge but gave them a temporary stay of execution until their appeal is heard.

The Court of Appeal in Singapore had this afternoon heard the appeal, before deciding the same day to reject their challenge.

On Twitter, Lawyers for Liberty’s head coordinator Zaid Malek wrote: “The Court of Appeal has dismissed Pausi and Roslan’s appeal. The Singapore AGC is seeking punitive costs against the defence counsel.”

Earlier on Twitter, Zaid questioned the seeming haste with which the Court of Appeal scheduled the hearing of the appeal that was filed only today, writing: “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?”

Zaid had earlier also on Twitter said the appeal hearing scheduled this afternoon gave the lawyers for Pausi and Roslan no time to prepare, arguing that this breaches the principles of natural justice and that there would effectively be no right to be heard if court processes are rushed.

This evening, Singapore-based lawyer M Ravi wrote a similar update on Facebook regarding the appeal’s outcome, but indicated that another new court challenge has been filed regarding death penalties in Singapore.

“The Court of Appeal has just dismissed the appeal and we have filed another application on the manner the death penalty has been administered in Spore and the various breaches on right to life and unequal treatment,” he wrote, indicating that the hearing for this would be tomorrow morning.

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.

Just a week ago on February 9, the families of Pausi and Roslan were notified of their scheduled execution today.

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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