SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A prominent human rights lawyer in Singapore staged a protest on Saturday, taking to a city park to denounce what he called unfair treatment by the Law Society which has suspended him from practicing for medical reasons.
The lawyer, known as M Ravi, has defended several critics of the government and has fought for gay rights and against capital punishment.
“I would like to protest against the Law Society’s oppressive, arbitrary, discriminatory and inappropriate manner in which they have suspended me,” Ravi said.
The Law Society of Singapore said it was concerned about the state of Ravi’s mental health which it said impaired his fitness to practise law. The society has asked him to have a medical test or evaluation.
Ravi dismissed any worries about his health.
The Law Society said the decision had nothing to do with Ravi’s political views, the clients he has represented or his stated intention to stand for parliament in the next general election.
Protests are not common in prosperous Singapore where most media is state-linked, dissent is actively discouraged and political gatherings require a permit regardless of how many people are involved.
“The Law Society of Singapore have not been enamored of Ravi for quite some time and have sought opportunities to knock him down, and because of Ravi’s medical condition, they have had this latest chance to do so,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.
Reporting By Aradhana Aravindan and Rujun Shen; Editing by Robert Birsel