SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has suspended a prominent opposition and human rights lawyer for a year on disciplinary grounds, according to court documents and media reports on Saturday.
M. Ravi, who has represented prominent opposition leader Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on several occasions, and has defended two high-profile death penalty cases in the city-state, was suspended from practice for a year by the legal profession's top disciplinary body on Friday.
Ravi was suspended due to rude behaviour to a district judge in October, 2003, according to the local Straits Times newspaper.
"I hope that...you will find peace, examine yourself and hopefully, one year later, when you come back, you will become a lawyer that we want to see in this court," the paper quoted Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong as saying.
Ravi, who had defended Chee and his sister Chee Siok Chin earlier this year after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father Lee Kuan Yew launched a libel suit, could not be reached for comment.
Chee Siok Chin said on Saturday she plans to represent herself in future lawsuits.
"It's certainly a pity," said Chee Siok Chin, referring to the suspension. "Ravi would take up cases which most other lawyers would shun."
Ravi has actively campaigned against the death penalty in the city-state, which has possibly the highest execution rate in the world relative to its population, according to London-based rights group Amnesty International.
The wealthy Southeast Asian nation sparked international controversy last year after it ignored repeated appeals by Australia to spare the life of Australian drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Van for carrying 400 grams of heroin while in transit at the Singapore airport in 2002.
The Judge in QuestionPublished 4.28.2004
Ravi first made the news in September last year after he had a heated exchange with High Court Judge Woo Bih Li while trying to seek a retrial for a condemned drug trafficker who had exhausted all avenues of appeal.
Justice Woo has since made a complaint to the Law Society against him for improper conduct in court.