SINGAPORE: Singaporean human rights lawyer Mr Ravi Madasamy, commonly known as M Ravi, is facing a cost order of S$10,000 (approximately US$7,491) due to his involvement in contempt of court proceedings, following his 21-day imprisonment.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) charged Mr Ravi with several offences, including making baseless accusations of bias against judges, persistently disrupting court sessions, and misrepresenting his availability for proceedings.
The charges relate to his conduct during two separate court cases in November 2021. In the first case, he represented Chua Qwong Meng, a former bus driver who sued SBS Transit for allegedly unfair work practices. The second case involved Magendran Muniandy, a 33-year-old Malaysian charged with forging various documents.
While Mr Ravi contested the two contempt court charges, Justice Hoo Sheau Peng affirmed that the offences surpassed the custodial threshold.
The AGC sought S$12,000 in legal costs, excluding disbursements exceeding S$6,000. This claim for costs is permissible in Contempt of Court cases, which are quasi-criminal offences, as opposed to criminal offences where such costs are not applicable.
However, the judge eventually ordered Mr Ravi to pay the AGC S$10,000 for legal expenses, including disbursements.
Mr Ravi, who was recently released from imprisonment on 22 November, posted in a Facebook update on Tuesday (28 Nov) that he received a letter from AGC demanding him to pay S$10,000 for the legal expenses in full by 6 December.
Alongside the 21-day imprisonment, the 53-year-old lawyer had been given a five-year suspension earlier this year due to accusations of professional misconduct. Consequently, he has been unable to practice law in Singapore, leaving him without a source of income.
Mr Ravi is also undergoing several police investigations, including violating the cooling-off day regulation in the recently concluded Presidential Election.
For those willing to support Mr Ravi’s cause, donations can be made through the following channels:
Bank account: POSB Savings
Account Name: Ravi Madasamy Account
Number: 308020177 Please add “SOLIDARITY” in the reference to specify the purpose of the donation.
Alternatively, donations can be made via PayNow to Ravi at this number: +65 9353 1866.
If you prefer other donation methods apart from bank transfers or PayNow, you can contribute here: https://ko-fi.com/mravi
Recognition for advocacy
Mr Ravi has been an international human rights lawyer in Singapore for over 20 years, representing numerous landmark human rights and constitutional law cases, including death penalty cases.
Despite his legal challenges, his contributions to human rights remain recognized by international organisations.
Earlier this month, he was lauded with the 2023 IBA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights by the International Bar Association.
This prestigious recognition celebrates his advocacy for the underprivileged, with an emphasis on representing death row inmates and advancing LGBTQI rights.
On 20 November, The Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA-IROL) addressed a letter to the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) expressing profound concern regarding the recent imprisonment of Mr Ravi without legal representation during the proceedings.
Martin Pradel and Avninder Singh, both Director General and Deputy Director General of UIA-IROL, emphasized the imperative need for LawSoc to ensure Mr Ravi receives legal representation of his choice.
UIA-IROL highlighted that during the proceeding, Mr Ravi was “unrepresented by counsel, and it seems that the LawSoc did not provide counsel for his defence.”
The Institute for the Rule of Law of the UIA-IROL has diligently monitored the case of Mr Ravi, who has faced repressive actions since March 2023.
At that time, the UIA-IROL issued a statement expressing grave concern over the severe disciplinary sanctions imposed on Mr Ravi due to the fulfilment of his professional duties and exercise of freedom of expression.
“It is distressing that Mr Ravi’s defence is a mental health issue, no doubt exacerbated by the continuing sanctions and disciplinary proceedings against him, ” added the letter from UIA-IROL.
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