Singapore Media Watch

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Singapore Locks up Rights Lawyer in Mental Hospital - Epoch Times

http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-9-28/46432.html

By Jaya Gibson
Epoch Times Staff deported to Sydney
Sep 28, 2006


Singapore authorities have forced the city-state's leading human rights attorney, Madasamy Ravi, into a psychiatric institution, The Epoch Times has learned. Ravi's hospitalization, which sources say is against his will, follows his legal defense of eleven Falun Gong practitioners in a series of cases which Ravi believes are politically motivated.

Falun Gong adherents believe the Singapore government is prosecuting the cases to please the Chinese communist regime, which persecutes Falun Gong.

Ravi was arrested on September 19, said his younger sister Seeniamah. Singapore officials arrested Ravi on the day he was to travel to Geneva to address the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Ravi had told The Epoch Times he would speak to the Council on Singapore court irregularities he had witnessed during his most recent defense of Falun Gong adherents in the Singapore Subordinate court, as well as on the court's lack of independence.

Two days later, he was sedated against his will and committed to Singapore's Adam Road Hospital, Seeniamah said.

In the days between Ravi's arrest and his commitment, he was released "conditionally" into the care of his family, said family members. Police then reportedly told Ravi's family that he would be jailed, and that they would have no access to him—unless they agreed to have him committed. Ravi's brother Sivam signed the commitment papers.

He does not suffer from mental illness, according to acquaintances.
A source close to Ravi, whose anonymity will be kept for safety reasons, managed to visit him on Thursday, September 22. Ravi appeared in good health, but said that he was being held against his will and wanted to be released immediately. Ravi said he "did not feel safe" at the hospital, said the source.

In 2005, Ravi did make a successful visit to the UN—to the now defunct Commission on Human Rights. There, he raised Singapore authorities' ire by successfully lobbying the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston to publicly speak out against a case of mandatory death sentencing in the city state.

Following his reporting on the Singapore trials of Falun Gong practitioners as well as the protests at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings in Singapore earlier this month, this reporter was regularly monitored and followed by local police.

Upon returning to Singapore after a brief trip to Europe, this reporter was detained by immigration authorities and deported to Australia on September 25. No reason was given for the deportation.

At the time of writing Ravi remains hospitalized. All attempts by The Epoch Times to gain access to him have been blocked by hospital officials. The Singapore state press has reported that the trial of Falun Gong practitioners will be postponed until next month as a result of his absence. The trail was due to continue on Monday, September 25.

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