SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Saturday (July 9) confirmed that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has issued an order to investigate Malaysian lawyer Zaid Abd Malek, for alleged contempt of court.
SPF said this in its reply to Bernama’s query on a statement posted on Zaid’s Facebook on Thursday (July 7) on his “detention at Singapore Airport by Immigration Authorities and interrogation by Singapore Police from Monday (July 4) to Wednesday (July 6).”
The order was issued on March 17, 2020, relating to the publication of an article on Feb 14, 2020, concerning the dismissal of lawsuits filed by two convicted Malaysian drug traffickers, A. Gobi and K. Datchinamurthy, over the alleged execution methods practised by prison authorities.
The said article referred to statements made by Zaid in his capacity as the director of the non-governmental organisation, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).
Zaid’s statements, SPF said, had suggested that the Singapore Courts had been unfair and ignored due process by rushing the hearing and that the Singapore Courts were “bent on dismissing the suits and proceeding to execution”.
“These statements were published online and accessed by members of the public in Singapore,” it said, adding that Zaid was overseas when the order was issued in 2020, and had not been to Singapore until his arrival on Monday.
Zaid stated he had arrived at Seletar Airport on that day at 12.15pm to assist and provide legal advice to the family of Malaysian death row prisoner Kalwant Singh, who was executed on Thursday.
However, he was not given the usual immigration clearance and instead made to wait for up to four hours until two officers arrived at the airport and served a notice ordering him to attend a Police interview pertaining to the investigations under the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016 (AOJPA).
SPF said Zaid informed them that he was available for the interview on Wednesday and officers then scheduled the interview with him at Police Cantonment Complex accordingly.
“Thereafter, Zaid was allowed to leave the airport,” it said.
According to SPF, Zaid attended the interview at the Police Cantonment Complex on the set date to assist in investigations pertaining to the AOJPA offence.
Before the commencement of the interview from 10.17am to about 12.05pm, Zaid was informed that he could request for breaks at any point but he did not request for any throughout the interview.
The SPF noted that Zaid left the Police Cantonment Complex shortly after the statement recording ended.
Upon the conclusion of investigations on the same day, SPF said, in consultation with AGC, it served a 24-month conditional warning to Zaid and LFL in lieu of prosecution for the offence of contempt of court under Section 3(1)(a) of the AOJPA on Wednesday, before his scheduled departure the next day.
“Zaid accepted both warnings served to him and LFL in his capacity as the director for LFL.
“Zaid arrived at the Police Cantonment Complex to receive the warnings on Wednesday at about 8.48pm and left the building at about 9.20pm,” said SPF.
Under Section 11 of the AOJPA 2016, SPF said, the publication in relation to contempt of court, if published through the Internet or other electronic media, is taken to be published in Singapore if it was accessed by members of the public in Singapore, said SPF.
Zaid in his statement had said he was “being detained and probed over a statement issued in Malaysia, and not in Singapore.” – Bernama