Lawyer’s remarks to Indian press ‘untrue’

Lawyer’s remarks to Indian press ‘untrue’

SINGAPORE - The statements made by lawyer M. Ravi to a newspaper in India saying workers involved in the Little India riot were not treated fairly are "entirely untrue", the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said on Friday.

The remarks were published in an article in Tuesday's edition of The New Indian Express.

The daily reported Mr Ravi saying the Singapore Government had violated the rights of the Tamil people and that "innocent helpless workers are still under custody without any evidence".

An AGC spokesman said: "These statements are entirely untrue and highly inappropriate, given that Mr Ravi is currently representing persons charged with offences involved in the riot."

Mr Ravi, who said he is representing six of the accused, has also reportedly called on the Tamil Nadu government to intervene on behalf of all the workers who were either charged or repatriated because of their involvement in the Dec 8 riot.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Friday, Mr Ravi said it was appropriate to set out his clients' positions in the Indian press, as the authorities here had "already conducted a trial-by-media".

"There's an attempt by the state and state media to tarnish the image of these Indian workers I represent, and attack the innocence of all the (repatriated) workers," said the lawyer.

"What can be more appropriate than to counter these allegations and to set the record straight in the Indian media, where all my clients originate from?" he added.

The AGC said the Government took a "calibrated approach" in charging 25 people with rioting and repatriating 57 people after issuing them with stern warnings.

Another 213 people were issued police advisories and allowed to remain in employment in Singapore. To date, five of the accused men have been jailed after pleading guilty to amended charges. Criminal cases for the remaining 20 men are ongoing.

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