Monday, June 21, 2010

Singapore's top criminal lawyer defends beating (caning) as a punishment

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The recent top news in Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew's island which he governs under his grip is the impending beating (caning, according to the Singapore lexicon) of a Swiss man, Oliver Fricker for drawing graffiti on a Singapore train.

In Singapore, which is a one party state, run by Lee Kuan Yew who has held power since 1959 and recently with his son, who he has not too long ago appointed Prime Minister; among other weird laws such as criminalizing the import of chewing gum, requires anyone guilty of drawing graffiti on private or public property to be beaten, literally beaten with a stick (the term for it in Singapore is caning), a unimaginably brutal form of punishment, that leaves the victim permanently crippled, scarred and deformed for life.

One would be surprised that such form of brutality, more befitting the most primitive and cruel spots in the world; to hear that of all places in the world, it is practiced in Singapore, a country which derived it's laws originally from England.

But Singapore as we all know is really not a democracy at all. It is a country run by one man, Lee Kuan Yew, with a Parliament totally and entirely loyal to him, enabling him to do anything he wants, and in this case, he wants to beat people as a form of punishment, and no one can challenge him in his island.

And not surprisingly in Lee Kuan Yew's island, Singapore's top criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan, top because he is seen as someone whom Lee Kuan Yew approves; has weighed in on the issue of beating criminals accused of drawing graffiti.

This is what he said in an interview on TV recently in Singapore which was broadcast around the world in all the world's languages. You can see it here: (New Tang Dynasty Television)

"Our country will have to be ........... We have to do what is good for our country and the system says that we need hanging as a punishment, we need caning as a punishment, so it does not matter what UN says, but we have to do, what we have to do to protect our own society".

The funny thing about this statement is that he makes no attempt to explain why, it is necessary to beat people to protect society, or why is Singapore so unique that it's society can be protected only by beating their citizens. Neither does he explain why all the other countries in the world can protect their citizens without resorting to such barbarity except for Singapore.

Had it been a layman who had said this, it could be disregarded for ignorance, but this statement is not coming from a layman; it is coming from the government titled, foremost criminal lawyer in Singapore.

Anyone who does not know Singapore would perhaps be surprised at the total ignorance in criminal jurisprudence in a man held out as Singapore's top criminal lawyer.

No it is not ignorance at all that makes Subhas Anandan say these ridiculous remarks, it is self preservation; it is the need to stay within the good books of Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew; because as long as this man utters such quintessentially politically correct Singaporean statements for the public consumption, he ingratiates himself further to his master, who will continue to shower favors and the rewards that is crucial for his success in Singapore.

The Attorney's nice words pleases Lee Kuan Yew, which would support the government's decision in ordering it's courts to beat the victim Oliver Fricker. After all, Lee Kuan Yew's government can say that even Singapore's top criminal lawyer wants Oliver Fricker to be beaten. Very convenient.

But the loser in the end is in fact Singapore, not Oliver Fricker. The video of this Singapore lawyer defending this brutality and mocking the United Nations message on the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, has been translated into every known language in the world, and is being watched today in London, Paris, Rome and Montreal and everywhere else. Thanks to Subhas Anandan, the world is reminded one more time of the lack of rule of law in that island, simply a tin pot dictatorship.

And I suppose this will result in even less tourism, fewer foreign students, fewer businesses and more emigration from the island.

Singapore, thanks to Lee Kuan Yew's lawyer Subhas Anadan, would drop a few more rungs in the freedom indices of international organizations around the world. But then, Subhas Anandan does not care one bit what anyone else thinks. Perhaps Singapore is best suited for the likes of Subhas Anandan and his family, who cherish their life among fellow citizens who have either died from hanging or brutally beaten.

It may not be the sort of country for other normal everyday people who are disgusted at the thought of beating people as a form of punishment.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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mycroft said...

It must be quite difficult being Mr. Subhas Anandan, top Singapore criminal lawyer. He has a sterling track record of coming to the defence of the virtually hopelessly indefensible by Singapore standards, usually capital cases (Took Leng How's alleged murder of 8-year old Huang Na being an example) and even once-upon-a-time, JBJ.

And yet today when it comes to politically-sensitive cases he feels compelled to turn down justice for members of the opposition:

In a Feb. 13 letter protesting the IBA's decision to take its convention to Singapore, Chee Soon Juan, the head of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party , who has been repeatedly sued for defamation, bankrupted and driven from politics by former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong in the Singapore courts, quoted Subhas Anandan, the president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore, as saying that "he would represent murderers, thieves and even terror suspects but would avoid acting for dissidents in Singapore." The courts rejected my repeated applications for QCs, insisting that my case was not "complex enough" thereby leaving me without legal representation.

Needless to say, in the above case the legally unrepresented Dr. Chee was hung out to dry by Lee's kangaroo court to the tune of US$300,000.

Now, Mr. Subhas Anandan, ace lawyer, is not obligated to defend anyone he doesn't want to but he sends an ugly message when saying, "the system says that we need hanging as a punishment. We need caning as a punishment. So, it does not matter what the UN says. We have to do what we have to do to protect our own society." Should the phrases, ...'the system says...we have to do what we have to do' be any way for a prominent defence lawyer to talk? It smacks of helplessness and caving in to injustice in the face of political pressure.

Now, how does one vehemently oppose capital punishment as Anandan does and yet at one and the same time condone the barbarity of whipping a person to a bloody pulp with up to 24 lashes at one time?

Despite countless floggings ordered by the courts over 50 years, these vicious sentences are still having to be passed in the year 2010. What does that tell us of the efficacy of 'sending a warning signal' so loudly claimed ad nauseam by the prosecution to justify the brutality? The same holds true for the thousands dragged off to Changi jail's gallows/organ donation facility. Surely, if any of these medieval punishments actually worked, would we still be reading about them being deployed with monotonous regularity in today's news? Which society in 'protect our own society' is Anandan alluding to?

He has had three heart attacks and undergone a heart bypass and an angioplasty. He has lost one kidney to cancer and is diabetic. Perhaps the strain of trying to face both ways at the same time does take a toll on one's health after all.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Mycroft,
When you talk about Singapore's legal system, it is not what really meets the eye. In criminal cases in Singapore, just as in others, it is not what the law says, but other non legal considerations.

First, who is the lawyer. If it is Subhas Anandan, a Lee Kuan Yew party member, it is one story, if someone else, quite another.

Second, what political message to you want to send. So if the Defendant is Lee Kuan Yew connected, it is one story, if not quite another.

Third, are there foreign considerations. If the Defendant is someone who is a multi national company manager with an office in Singapore, it is quite another story. You don't want to jeopardize interantional business by punishing the foreigner.

So when you refer to Subhas as an ace lawyer, he is not ace anything. Defending murderers, any number of them in Singapore is no different from representing anyone else. Subhas knows the moment he walks into the coutroom that his client's fate does not depend on the law, but on the Judge who decides in consulatation with Lee Kuan Yew, either expressly or through inherent understanding.

Subhas walks into a countroom with no worries at all. No major accompalishment anyway you look at it.

All his clients were executed anyway.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gopalan,

Perhaps Subhas is referred to as an ace lawyer because for him, his clients are A.C.E. "Assumed Criminals & Executed".

I have to make a joke on this. Otherwise I will go crazy listening to Subhas talk.

We need a translation book "Dummy Guide to Implicit LKY Singaporeanist talk" and another book called "Lifestyle of the Living Dead - How to survive in Harry's Singapore". The authors of both books should interview Mr ACE, Subhas Anandan.

mycroft said...

Sadly, I have a horrid feeling that you speak the truth, Gopalan. It is an undeniable fact that anyone in the legal fraternity who does not toe the PAP line does not survive for very long in LKY's legal desert. They have all either been forced to flee (Francis Seow, Tang Liang Hong) or coerced (Chia Ti Lik, David Marshall) to shut them up.

One day we will read that Subhas Anandan, like Walter Woon, was all along beholden to the PAP - a shill, a fig leaf to conceal the undemocratic credentials of a police state. All the signs point to it: his uncomfortable demeanour when cornered where it matters politically (the corporal punishment religious doctrine), the admiring pats on the head he gets in the government mouthpiece Straits Times (the sure kiss of death), and finally as you point out, all of his clients strangely died of broken necks anyway.

Yes indeed, Subhas Anandan - ace lawyer. But I suppose 'for whom?' would be a pertinent question.

Gopalan Nair said...

Anandan's shameful infamous statement, which continues to be used as the standard measure for the lack of integrity of all Singapore lawyers should explain clearly what he is:

"I will defend murderers, rapists even terrorists. But please don't give me political dissidents"

Why? Because it will offend Lee Kuan Yew.

This man is not ace. He is a disgrace.

Pete said...

So i guess Oliver Fricker will get canned? It's on later today at the courts i believe. Reading this:

"We have to do what is good for our country and the system says that we need hanging as a punishment, we need caning as a punishment, so it does not matter what UN says, but we have to do, what we have to do to protect our own society".

Makes me think of Singapore similar to Nazi Germany (Hitler)

Jess said...

Yep he is getting canned and going to jail. Way too harsh a penalty i think. Hope the appeal goes ok. Stupid homo erotic caning should be outlawed. A fine would have been sufficient. He's paid his dues by losing face and job.

Anonymous said...

Fines do nothing... if we had caning in America you could expect unlawful acts to drop by FAR. Prison is a joke.

bsl84 said...

"We have to do what is good for our country and the system says that we need hanging as a punishment, we need caning as a punishment, so it does not matter what UN says, but we have to do, what we have to do to protect our own society".

this is my country.. this is a place for me to stay.. i travel all over the world n i dont mess with their law orders..
would u like me to come to your country n paint on your door?...
stealing at arab states n your hands will be chopped off... try rape n u see wat will drop off..
i will have to agree that singapore's punishment is way to harsh but its for the safety of the ppl leaving in this country..
try compre your country n mine...
do i have to bring guns around to protect myself?...

Anonymous said...

If Singapore is so bent on caning people, even for non violent offenses, can someone please tell me why female criminals are always exempt from this even when they commit violent crimes. Why is gender the ground for discrimination here? This would not be tolerated any where else in the civilized world.

Wilson said...

This is really a stupid constitution for a stupid country!!