High Court rules it can't interfere in ICJ bid by Msian death row inmates

KHAIRAH N. KARIM


KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today ruled that it could not interfere in a bid by two Malaysian death row inmates in Singapore to bring their case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as it is related to foreign policy.

Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah made the ruling in chambers today after dismissing a leave application by S. Prabagaran,30, and K. Datchinamurthy, 32, for a judicial review to compel the Foreign Minister and the government to institute proceedings against Singapore at the ICJ over their drug trafficking conviction.

Counsel N.Surendran, who represented the applicants, said they will be appealing against the decision.

“The court dismissed our application for leave, saying that this is a matter that relates to foreign policy and the court has no jurisdiction to interfere," he said, adding that there was no order as to cost.

Senior federal counsel Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar and Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud acted for the respondents while Andrew Khoo from the Bar Council held the watching brief.

Prabagaran and his mother, V. Eswary 54, filed the application for a judicial review on Jan 16, while Datchinamurty and his mother A. Letchumi, 54, filed a similar action on Feb 3 to direct the Foreign Minister and the government to institute proceedings in the ICJ to stop their execution.

They are also seeking for a declaration that the respondents are legally obliged to protect their right to a fair trial.

On July 22, 2014, Prabagaran was convicted in the High Court of Singapore of trafficking 22.24g of diamorphine (heroin), an offence under Section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) while Datchinamurthy was convicted on April 1, 2015, along with a Singaporean national J. Christeen in the same court for trafficking 44.96g of diamorphine, under Section 5 (1)(a) of the same Act.

The duo was sentenced to death in 2015 after having exhausted all domestic legal remedies in Singapore.

Earlier, Surendran said there were no news as of now about when the execution of Prabagaran and Darchinamurthy will be carried out.

"They are already on death row, so it is a race against time. It (execution) could be at any time as all appeals have been exhausted and that is why we are continuing with the appeal," he said.