Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another day of U Turns and Fishing Expeditions by the Police

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just to reassure any reader new to my case, who may quite reasonably think after reading this blog spot that I had actually killed 20 people in cold blood and had I not been stopped in time, I would have butchered another 400 just for the fun of it; please be reassured I have done nothing of the sort! All I did, believe it or not, was to write 2 blog posts on my blog the Singapore Dissident criticizing Judge Belinda Ang, a Singapore High Court Judge on her conduct of a defamation case recently.

June 17, 2008, Tuesday, Singapore Cantonment Police Station.

The time is 8.45 am. As required by the Court Order of June 16, 2008, I appear for interrogation at the police station at 9 am. The court had on June 16, 2008 ordered that I appear every day at 9 am at the police station for interrogation until next month because the police claim they are investigating further unspecified offenses.

3rd Floor of the Police station, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 8.45 am.

At 9.04 am Assistant Superintendent of Police (officer) Mr. Razak Jakaria, the Investigation Officer appears and takes me to an interview room. Another officer sits in the room.

Now the officer says that I am being investigated for an offense under Sec 4 (1) of the Sedition Act which he deliberately stresses is a seizable offence, obviously to threaten me into confessing something or other. He repeats that this offense carries a maximum jail term of 3 years, to stress it's seriousness.

The Section reads as follows: Any person who does or attempts to do or makes any preparation to do or conspires with any person to do any act which has or which would if done have a seditious tendency shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on conviction of a first offense to a fine not exceeding $5000.00 or to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both.

After showing me the charge, he begins the questions.

This is yet another day of U Turns by the police. You will recall the several changes that the police have made to date on what to charge me with. First it was an Email to Judge Ang. Another charge that I sent Judge Lai an Email more than 2 years ago. Then the decision to drop everything and proceed with a Sedition Charge. Then the dropping of the Sedition Charge and charging me with insulting Judge Ang through my blog. Now this latest version of resurrecting the Sedition charge one more time!

Mind you, from the time of my arrest on May 31, 2008 Saturday and my detention in solitary confinement for 5 days continuously, and despite my having been brought to court several times, up till now the police have not formally charged me with any single offense and neither have they taken any plea from me.

One can only assume that the police are just continuing with their roundabouts.

This time, the officer goes back and covers the same ground he covered in the past by showing me Emails which he claims I sent to Justice Belinda Ang and others. As before, I again deny having sent any Emails to any of these people.

He then produces an extract of the Criminal Procedure Code which requires an accused or witness to allow his computer system (I suppose including Email account) to be looked into, when a crime is suspected and failing to allow the police to look at it, itself becomes an offense. He then asks if I am prepared to log into my Email account to the computer at the police station for him to inspect the contents of my Email account.

The Singapore police system clearly, as in this case, does not provide due process to an accused. Here, once the police had articulated a suspicion that an offense has been committed, regardless of whether or not they had a single shred of evidence, they can insist that my Email account be available for their examination; failing to provide co-operation becoming an arrestable offense immediately.

In this case, the police had alleged they were suspecting a crime. Since that was done, I had no choice but to permit them to have access to my private Emails. Of course, I did not send any emails to anyone, but knowing that since my arrest, the police had seized my notebook containing my Email password, there was no telling what the police would do, such as tampering with my Emails or implanting offending Emails by themselves.

Clearly Singaporeans do not have the right to privacy or the right to be free from unlawful search and seizure or if they did; the police have the right to just ignore it.

I had no choice but to permit the officer to have access to my Email account. I had stated in my written response that I was permitting them to have access to my Email account under protest since it has now transpired that they or others at their behest may have tampered with my Email account since they have produced documents falsely accusing me of sending Emails to Judge Belinda Ang and others. Therefor since I am to use the police computer, there may be a strong possibility that they may have implanted offending Emails into my email account so as to falsely accuse me of having sent them.

I was brought down to the computer or meeting room of the Cantonment Police Station. There were 2 photographers there. I was asked to key into my Email account. I demanded that that they stand away while I keyed in my password so as to avoid its detection by them. They complied.

I was asked to open each item in my Email, namely the Inbox, Sent, Thrash and Bulk. The police photographers took several photographs of each page of those items. The officer then asked me to open several of those Emails, which he read. He could find nothing offensive or suspicious. The Emails that he had accused me of sending to Judge Belinda Ang and others were not there, and neither were the undeliverable messages he accused me of having received.

By this time the interview which had stated at 9.04 am had reached 2.30pm, that is 5 1/2 hours. Suddenly the officer disappeared and came back with a letter from the police that I need not attend everyday at the police station at 9am until the middle of July 2008 as ordered by the court, and I only need to attend if I was so advised. Another U turn, you may say.

Finally I must add how the officer uses one psychological technique to try to wear me down. He gets another officer to sit next to him at the computer while he works on it. The other officer then looks at the computer as if he has discovered something incriminating against me. Then both the officer and this other officer talk in whispers. All this must be to intimidate me into believing that there is something highly incriminating against me in the computer, thereby suggesting that I come clean by confessing at the first opportunity.

This observation, consultation and whispering between the officer and his second, at the computer carried on not only at the interview room but also at the computer room. I realised what they were doing and objected to the other officer being present but the officer's stand was that it was his office and he could do what he wanted.

It was quite apparent to me that this constant U Turns and checking my Emails is nothing more than a fishing expedition. Not having anything concrete, they are going over the same ground repeatedly hoping that they will find some contraditions in my statements; or looking into my private Emails hoping that they could find something new to charge me with. This sort of investigation is only done by police forces not intent on detecting crime but rather to eliminate government opponents. These are political police forces working for tyrants and despots, not independent ones.

And so was wasted the whole of a very good morning at Cantonment Police Station. I have been here now for 25 days, since my arrival on May 26, 2008, when I should have gone back to California on June 3, 2008, 16 days longer and still in Singapore. My law practice is already in serious jeopardy and so is my other financial situation. But I remain adamant in standing my ground. Mahatma Gandhi had said, "you may imprison my body, break my bones, even kill me, but you cannot take my spirit and my resolve. That will remain with me till the end". Mahatma Gandhi was right.

In the meantime, I am grateful for the massive congratulatory messages sent to me asking me to remain strong during this difficult time. I am also been receiving offers of help from people both in Singapore and worldwide to whom I remain eternally grateful.

It seems the longer I remain in Singapore, the greater the worldwide interest in my case. It truly does appear to me, that no matter what the Singapore government may or may not think of the right to free speech and expression; the people of the free world do really take it very seriously. And if Singapore is at all concerned about its standing among the free countries in the world then it too should take it seriously.

So I am clearly not alone in this. Good people not only in Singapore but worldwide stand with me on this important question of free speech and expression. And this is reassuring. Very reassuring.

Gopalan Nair
Singapore

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite predictable of the police in this country. Like when they surrounding 4 silent protesters as if one of them carried a bomb. Its very pathetic how they have to resort to intimidation strategies like pretending to have found something and then talking in whispers. I hope that, seriously, someone big elsewhere in the world says or does something. I'd like to see what bullshit the MM will say this time.

Have faith that there are intelligent people out there backing you, also people who arent spineless.

panter92 said...

You shouldn't have migrated overseas.. by doing so, it will negate any of your good intentions for this country. You will seem to be meddling in Singapore's business. You are setting a very bad example to people in Singapore. If you should succeed in this court case, others may soon think that the best way to change Singapore's system is to emigrate and then return, knowing that the embassies of their new country's will assist them in any issues or problems that may crop up..

Anonymous said...

i m an overseas singaporean, dread to go back to singapore.

i have been following your update here. don't worry about that people like panter82 say, he's probably some trollers trying to dishearten you.

thank you Nair for updating us. i salute your courage and perserverance!

the PAP ministers have said that they welcome foreign talents. are foreign talents only expected to work and keep their mouths shut?

more and more overseas singaporeans are disgusted with the way the singapore government handle domestic issues, and the singapore government is unable to attract the top talents to singapore because the bad bame of singapore has been stubbornly imprinted on most people's mind.

the current case is getting to more people that the singapore government is really one that is good at nothing but bullying.

thank you again, and i hope you will fight on and i believe victory will be yours!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Nair

Hang in there! I'm a Singaporean that has been educated in the US previously, and I agree that the laws here are harsh. I would emigrate if I ever had the opportunity to. With regards to migration, alot of Singaporeans actually hold the same perspective, but unfortunately not all are not brave enough to voice their opinion due to the suffocating and hostile climate that does not encourage political participation.

juniordissident said...

Hi Mr Gopalan Nair,

I am a 19-year-old student, waiting for my (first) university term to start and am working part-time at a busy (and independent) cafe where we do not charge GST, service taxes or other bullshit of the sort. You don't know me, but I won't be surprised if one day my identity gets uncovered. In fact, I might just one day, stand vigil at the police station and approach you that is, if I muster up enough courage. First of all, let me start by saying how much of an inspiration you are to me.

I must admit, I am not a hardcore dissident, the only reason being my not knowing much, but just enough to make me aware of the unfairness and unjust I am surrounded in in this country we're held in.

I salute you for your strength. I know I might sound stupid by saying this, but at 19 years of age, I feel extremely oppressed even though I am not in direct contact with the atas.

For one, I have always wanted to get away from this country; my earliest memory of the sort was when I was merely 14. I have always wanted to go to a European country to further my studies for I speak a European language and also because I believe I would be given far more opportunities given my being a foreign talent if I were to go abroad. You see, here in Singapore, I am a minority race. The longer I am exposed to the government-controlled media-marginalizing and the stereotypes injected into the lemming-brains of my dear fellow Singaporeans, the more I realise there's nothing in it for me for the whole country views my race as "rats". Recently, my group's project won a few commendable awards from local "big-name" organisations. Next week I will be forced into attending an interview for some programme for a channel catered to the people of my race. All this hype because I am of a minority race and because I am female. I do not believe in such media-monger. But I have no other choice else my parents will bludgeon me and so will my alma mater (be proud of your race! make the school proud!). Believe me when I say I feel oppressed. I am not allowed to my own conscience and opinion.

Once, a few years ago, when I was fully charged with "teen angst", I posted a blog entry, expressing my unhappiness at my then-best friend's parents who abused her physically, emotionally and mentally, her parents threatened to bring me to court for defamation and forced their daughter to make me remove the entry. At a wee age of 16 (compared to a pair of 50-plus year olds), how else do you think I felt? I was scared shitless. I became so paranoid, it gnawed at my nerves incessantly. Looking back, I now know I wasn't in the wrong. I was merely standing for my beliefs (and basic constitutional rights) and my friend's well-being.

I don't have much to say except for a simple "Hang in there". I am lost for better words. You have my utmost support.

One day, when I can support myself fully, I will make it a point to get out of this hellhole (that is if people are still working for the government when really the government should be working for US, the PEOPLE, the CITIZENS). Until then, I will have to remain anonymous, a hermit, a disabled but never a blind follower.

Frankly, I do not mind if they revoke my university admission if I am found out. Being "stupid" is better than being misinformed.

Best wishes.

Bukit Chandan said...

Yes, we also have this type of police officers in Malaysia.

Stay strong and resolute.

Best Regards.........

dawnL said...

continue in your cause, and there'll just be more and more followers and people who believe in doing things for the greater good.

i applaude you, and u'll be surprised and just how many there're silently supporting and monitoring your every move.

Anonymous said...

"You shouldn't have migrated overseas.. by doing so, it will negate any of your good intentions for this country. You will seem to be meddling in Singapore's business. You are setting a very bad example to people in Singapore. If you should succeed in this court case, others may soon think that the best way to change Singapore's system is to emigrate and then return, knowing that the embassies of their new country's will assist them in any issues or problems that may crop up.."

panter92 ,
If you can't change the system here 'in the box' because the gahmen controlling and surrounding the box then you ought to 'think out of the box' to do it. The government know that the people here are taught and bring up to think in the box and play by the rule so as not to jeopardise their oppressive regime of money-making family business out of expense of the citizen here. So people who emigrated and return play their part to expose the regime.

"You are setting a very bad example to people in Singapore."
So did you blow out of proportion ? Who is the badiest example ? The PAP or Nair ? So what you going to do with the bad example of PAP ? Nothing ? Then why even say that Nair is setting bad example ?

Anonymous said...

some things you say may have been exaggerated slightly, but still I admire you for your strength to speak up given the nature of the Singapore system.

all the best for your court case!

Regards.

Anonymous said...

twist and turn double headed snake
nair the lair hoping to sink singapore with stupid iq of zero!

bad genes,bad guy,bad mouth
he stinks!

jail him for life and slam his face out forever!