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SINGAPORE: MALAYSIAN ESCAPES GALLOWS AFTER COURT OF APPEAL REVERSES DEATH SENTENCE

October 19, 2020:

Singapore’s Court of Appeal on 19 October 2020 set aside a previous death sentence it meted out to Gobi Avedian, a Malaysian who was convicted of drug trafficking.
Lawyer M. Ravi said that Singapore’s top court reviewed its previous decision of sentencing Gobi to death on the account of a miscarriage of justice.
Gobi, 32, will instead serve a 15-year-jail sentence that the High Court had given him in 2017.
“The Court of Appeal concluded that the previous decision is demonstrability wrong and Gobi has suffered from a miscarriage of justice,” said Ravi on 19 October.
Ravi said the case made judicial history in Singapore because all legal avenues had run their course, including a clemency appeal that had been rejected by the Singapore President.
“It is very difficult to succeed in getting leave to reopen the case in the Court of Appeal aside from the fact that it is not easy to set aside a death sentence,” said Ravi, who has been fighting for the reopening of several similar cases.
Ravi said Gobi wanted to make it his mission in Malaysia to work on death penalty cases.
Gobi was introduced to a person known only as Vinod, who told him he could earn money by delivering drugs mixed with chocolate to Singapore.
Vinod told Gobi that the drugs were to be used in discos and were "ordinary" and "not serious". He also assured Gobi that he would receive "just a fine or small punishment" if he was caught.
Gobi, who was a security guard, had been charged in the High Court with importing 40.22g of heroin, but the judge believed his account that he did not know the bundles he was carrying contained heroin and reduced his charge.
In 2017, Gobi was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the High Court but following an appeal by the prosecution, the Court of Appeal convicted him of the original charge.
Gobi was previously reported by the Straits Times to have earned between S$1,400 (RM4,226) and S$1,850 (RM5,585) a month as a security guard, and that he turned to transporting drugs because he needed money to pay for his daughter's medical fees.
He was offered RM500 for each packet of "chocolate drugs" delivered to Singapore.
Gobi was reported to have said he delivered drugs into Singapore "eight or nine" times before he was caught at the Woodlands Checkpoint on 11 December 2014.

(Sources: The Star, CNA, 19/10/2020)

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