Moderator’s note : Sharon Xavier sent in the following info in a comment :
UN Human Rights High Commissioner : H. E. Ms. Navanethem Pillay
I got the following e-mail from a reader over the weekend.
“Haris, are we going to stand by and do nothing whilst Karpal, who has given so much of his life to the nation, is to face sentencing on the 7th for the most disgraceful court process in modern times? Please do something”.
Yesterday, I got another email from a Malaysian overseas who had taken the initiative to draft a template letter to be sent to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urging a statement to condemn this gross injustice that is taking place here in our country.
At my request, he has forwarded me that template and consented to my amending the same, using it to send my letter to the UN High Commissioner and to make the same available to all of you to do likewise.
I have just sent my letter to the High Commissioner and am reproducing it below for those of you who would like to use the same as a template. Please feel free to amend the same as you see fit.
You may obtain the postal and email address of the UN High Commissioner from HERE.
Mr Karpal Singh MP, 73 is a distinguished Malaysian lawyer whose cases include defending Australian Kevin Barlow who was executed in Malaysia in 1986 for drug trafficking. He is also a member of the Parliament of Malaysia and the current chairman of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Action Party (“DAP”) – a member party of Socialist International.
On Friday, 21st February, 2014, Mr Singh was found guilty under the archaic and draconian Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak (Ruler of the Malaysian state of Perak) at the height of the constitutional crisis in 2009. Following application by his defence, his own son, taking into consideration Mr Singh’s medical condition who is wheelchair bound following an accident in 2005, the judge has fixed 7 March 2014 for sentencing. At the heart of the case, Mr Singh is accused of uttering words which have the tendency to create hatred towards the Ruler.
You can find more details of the case here:
Some documents on the said constitutional crisis compiled by a Malaysian lawyer at time of the crisis: http://malaysiaforum.org/lmf/?p=18
In recent years, the Sedition Act and other restrictive legislation have been allegedly employed to silence critics of the executive. Mr Singh was last tried for sedition in 2002 with charges being withdrawn during trial widely believed to be due to numerous representations from the international legal community. Mr Singh has however suffered imprisonment under Malaysia’s internal security laws in 1987 and again in 1989 widely perceived to be linked to his opposition to then Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad.
Amnesty International issued a statement in 2001 affirming Mr Singh, a prisoner of conscience. The statement also strongly criticised the use of the Sedition Act, and other restrictive legislation, to stifle fundamental rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly in Malaysia.
This is a very important trial, not only for Mr Singh, but also for the people of Malaysia who have elected him to office. As chairman of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Action Party (“DAP”), Mr Singh is a core pillar of Malaysian opposition politics. The Malaysian constitution disqualifies anyone imprisoned for more than a year to sit in Parliament for a period of five years beginning with the date on which the convicted person is released. The alleged orchestrated removal of Mr Singh will therefore be tantamount to putting an end to opposition politics in Malaysia.
Several groups have issued statements on this matter, amongst them:
The International Commission of Jurists: http://www.icj.org/malaysia-high-court-decision-curtails-lawyers-freedom-of-expression/
Lawyers for Liberty (a Malaysian organisation): http://www.lawyersforliberty.org/2014/02/lfl-karpal-singhs-sedition-conviction-reaffirms-the-return-of-authoritarianism-and-political-persecution/
As a freedom loving Malaysian citizen, I humbly request that you consider issuing a statement in support of Mr Singh who is not only a distinguished lawyer and politician but also a father like figure to all freedom loving Malaysians.
I am, as always, anak Bangsa Malaysia,