Ladies and Gentlemen,
I attended court 26 Subordinate Court at 9 am today as required by court order.
Mr. Chia Ti Lik, my lawyer appeared together with other supporters including my bailor Mr. Jeffrey George, Mr. Gandhi Ambalam, SDP Chairman. I am very grateful for the support shown to me by these supporters without whose help, life would have been infinitely more difficult in the already difficult circumstances.
I am also grateful to the representatives of the US Embassy who have continued to maintain their presence in court. I understand the US State Department is being briefed daily on my situation.
I am an American blogger who had intended to remain in Singapore only from May 25th 2008 to no later than June 3, 2008. My being charged for criminal offenses for writing a blog criticizing a Singapore Judge on May 29, 2008 is forcing me to remain in Singapore much longer than I had expected. This is causing me untold misery by my inability to attend to my law practice in the US and other financial difficulties including my inability to attend to my house mortgage and other financial affairs. Regardless of what I have to undergo, I refuse to surrender to this punishment by the Singapore authorities. What I had said in my blog is what I had witnessed during the 3 days of the hearing before the High Court Singapore in the case of Lee Kuan Yew vs Dr. Chee Soon Juan from May 26 2008 to May 28, 2008. I strongly believe it is the right of every free man to speak freely without fear or favor, without which he no longer is a man but a coward. This right is a right enshrined in the Constitution of Singapore as well as constitutions throughout the world as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Money can be had today or tomorrow but once a man loses his freedom, he loses everything. This has always been my belief which I will cherish till the end.
In court today, the prosecution took another U turn. Call it flip flopping if you like. You will recall from my last post the tortuous course these proceedings are taking. During my time in custody in solitary confinement from May 31, 2008 to June 05, 2008 (6 days) the following occurred. First they charged me with sending an Email to Judge Belinda Ang, alleging that I insulted her. Second they charged me with sending an Email to Judge Lai Sui Chu more than 2 years ago alleging the same. Third they withdrew all charges and charged me under the Sedition Act of Singapore for what I had written on my blog of May 29, 2008. Fourth, they withdrew the Sedition charge and wanted to proceed on the earlier Email charges.
Today in court there was a further U Turn. Now they are no longer proceeding with the Email charge to Judge Belinda Ang or the Sedition charge and have instead charged me with having insulted Judge Belinda Ang on May 29, 2008 by reason of what I had written on my blog as well as the 2 year old matter with Judge Lai. I cannot remember whether I did or did not send the 2 year old Email.
The Judge Ang charge is that I had offered an insult to Judge Belinda Ang, a civil servant, on May 29, 2008 by what I had written on my blog of the same date. As to how I could have possibly insulted this Judge by writing something on my blog is no doubt mind boggling. I had not invited the Judge to read my blog and neither did I go to her court and insult her personally. I had merely written a blog post and nothing more.
I am not surprised why the Singapore authorities have decided not to proceed with the charge that I had sent an Email to Judge Ang. I had all along claimed that the police had seized my note book which contained my Email password. I had all along maintained that if anyone had sent any Emails to this Judge, it wasn't me. It appears that the police have finally accepted my claim that I had not sent any Email to this judge or anyone else on May 29, 2008.
During the time I was in custody, the police had shown me Emails with my Email address which had purportedly been sent to Judge Belinda Ang, the Attorney General of Singapore and one other person in authority whom I cannot recall. This was after my notebook containing my Email passwords were seized by the police. I had all along denied ever sending any of these Emails. The question therefore arises as to who sent them!
So the latest position as regards the charges now is firstly, an accusation that I had insulted Judge Belinda Ang on May 29, 2008 by reason of the contents of my blog post of the same date and the accusation that I had insulted Judge Lai in an Email to Judge Lai more than 2 years ago in March 2006, keeping in mind that I had travelled to Singapore more than once during the last 2 years without incident. If indeed I had sent any Email to Judge Lai, which I deny; why Judge Lai should now be suddenly offended by an Email which may or may not have been sent to her more than 2 years ago from California, is puzzling.
Not satisfied by keeping me in solitary confinement for 6 days from the time of my arrest, the court had today ordered that I am to report everyday at 9 am at the Cantonment Police Station for interrogation until further notice. The police have claimed that despite my incarceration for 6 days in a police station cell since my arrest in solitary confinement where I was interrogated at least twice each day, they claim that they still have not completed their investigation and therefore the need to interrogate me each day, and every day, until such time they finally decide that they have had enough. One would have thought that I had killed 20 people in cold blood! For Heavens sake, I only wrote a blog.
I do not know the purpose of this all but perhaps they had miscalculated my reaction. Perhaps they thought that I would buckle under at the first opportunity and grovel as other Singaporeans are expected to do. Well, I am not guilty. I wrote a blog. I wrote what I saw. I was exercising free speech. Free speech is essential for good governance. If the Singaporean authorities are unwilling to accept this, it is time they did.
After all they claim Singapore to be a first world country. With international banking trade and commerce. All of this requires free speech. The sooner they realize this the better.
I have to get some sleep now so as to report to Cantonment Police Station to be interrogated in the morning.