In 2018, #Singapore
Prison Service forwarded 4 letters Syed wrote to his uncle + 1 letter he wrote to his then-DEFENCE COUNSEL to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
At that time, Syed’s capital case was before the Court of Appeal. AGC was the prosecution. https://wethecitizens.substack.com/p/when-the-prison-sends-inmate-correspondence?r=5ewr&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy&fbclid=IwAR18vDCdFm8MMnIabfKRAp8kEo5SSfrR8jfMS-CMOiig6eB9GvmMxdIBoKs
The Community Action Network and #Singapore
Campaign have issued a statement: https://singaporecan.wordpress.com/2020/09/20/questionable-conduct-by-singapore-prison-and-agc-could-have-undermined-death-row-inmates-case/
There needs to be an independent investigation into and accounting for this clear breach of inmates’ privacy, and in Syed’s case, solicitor-client privilege.
From an August 2020 Court of Appeal judgment, we learn that this wasn’t an isolated case. Another death row inmate, Datchinamurthy, complained that the prison had, w/o consent, forwarded to the AGC documents given to him by his family.
From para 84: https://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module-document/judgement/-2020-sgca-77-pdf.PDF
When Datchinamurthy complained, the Singapore Prison Service and Attorney-General’s Chambers argued that they hadn’t done anything wrong since his documents weren’t privileged communications between him and his lawyer. (So what about Syed’s letter to his lawyer in 2018?!)
This is the relevant part of the prison regulations. Note that (4) says the prison can’t copy/withhold correspondence between a prisoner and their legal advisor. How and why did the prison forward Syed’s letter to his lawyer to the AGC?
The Court of Appeal made it clear that there’s “no legal basis” for the #Singapore
Prison Service to be forwarding inmates’ documents/correspondence to the AGC. It said “the proper procedure would have been to obtain the prisoner’s consent or an order of court.”
How often does the #Singapore
Prison Service do this “forwarding without consent” thing? We don’t know exactly. But it appears as if they do it even when the Attorney General’s Chambers *doesn’t* specifically ask for correspondence/documents.
Disclosing an inmate’s communication w/ his defence counsel to the prosecution is serious. It’s providing privileged information to the adverse party, and is unfair to the inmate, *especially* ‘cos he’s in the prison’s custody and they have such power over his communications.
Given this unfairness against Syed, can it really be considered safe to execute him?
Further: how often has the #Singapore
Prison Service done this? How many other inmates and their defence lawyers have been affected? How many cases could have potentially been prejudiced?
Adding a correction to this thread: I missed that 127A of the Prison Regulations was only brought in in Sept 2018, months after Syed’s letters were sent. https://twitter.com/kixes/status/1307908070270365696
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.