Ladies and Gentlemen,
Yes, I am hanging in there as best I can, but it is difficult. It has been 3 months since I came to Singapore intending to stay 10 days!
The situation up till now is this.
The blogging case, Judge Belinda Ang case
" Gopalan Nair are charged that you on or about May 29, 2008 in Singapore, did intentionally offer an insult to a public servant namely Justice Belinda Ang Saw Een, a Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore while the Judge was sitting in judicial proceedings namely Notice of Assessment No. 23 of 2008 in Suit No. 261 of 2006 and Notice of Assessment No. 24 of 2008 in Suit No. 262 of 2006 by posting the following words on your blog at http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/index.html:
"The following transpired during the last 3 days in court. The judge Belinda Ang was throughout prostituting herself during the entire proceedings by being nothing more than an employee of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders"
and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 228 of the Penal Code (Chapter 224).
On August 1, 2008, the Preliminary Inquiry was held in the High Court at 9 am. There are 2 cases here. One the Judge Belinda Ang case where I am accused of having insulted her in my blog post in May of 2008. Then there is another charge that I insulted Judge Lai Sui Chu on March 17 2006, 2 years ago, by an Email, for having called her "corrupt", at which time I was physically in the United States.
The purpose of the Preliminary Inquiry was to decide whether the prosecution has made out a sufficient case to make me stand trial for these charges.
The main prosecution witness was Assistant Superintendent of Police Razak Jakaria (ASP Razak) who was both the arresting officer, among others; as well as the Investigating Officer in this case. The judge was Magistrate Tan Wen Hsien, a woman; the prosecuting counsel was Francis Ng Yoong Kiat assisted by Jillian Koh Tan.
The evidence of ASP Razak was as follows. He claims he received a letter from the Attorney General that someone claiming to be Pallichadath Gopalan Nair, using the email address email@example.com had sent Emails to a number of people including Walter Woon the Attorney General, Judge Belinda Ang, her secretary, among one or two others attaching the blog posts that I had posted about Judge Belinda Ang.
As a background, you will recall that when I was arrested on May 31, 2008 by ASP Razak, his first job while interrogating me was to confront me with these Emails and accusing me of having sent them. During the repeated interrogation by him, while I was in custody in Cantonment Police Station for 5 days in solitary confinement, I consistently maintained that I had never sent these Emails; that I had stopped using the name Pallicahdath Gopalan Nair as of 2004 when I became an American citizen and that I have ever since used the name Gopalan Nair only. ASP Razak had seized my blue note book when he arrested me on May 31, 2008, in which was written my password for this Email account. In fact, when the court ordered that the police permit me to have copies of this notebook, which I collected from him about 2 weeks ago at Cantonment police Station, I found the page that contained my email password missing. When I asked him whether he had taken it, his answer was "no". When I asked him to put it in writing that he did not take it, he refused, asking me instead to tell it to the judge!
As a result of the numerous attempt to pressure me into admitting that I sent these Emails to these people during interrogation, and after even more pressure by threatening to charge me under the Sedition Act where the court could have sent me to jail for 3 years, ASP Razak finally realized I suppose that no matter what, I am not going to admit to something that I did not do. I am not going to admit sending these Emails to any of these people even though the Email account was mine; simply because I did not send them.
I do not know who sent these Emails. Perhaps ASP Razak could have sent them himself after he got my Email password and blame it on me. Perhaps the Singapore government could have sent it. Or even someone else not connected to the Singapore government could have sent it. But I did not. But anyone who sent it had made one major mistake. The Emails carried the name Pallichadath Gopalan Nair, a name that I had not used since 2004, being now known only as Gopalan Nair. But mistake or not, the fact remains that I did not send them.
Coming back to the Preliminary Inquiry of August 1, 2008, the principle prosecution witness was ASP Razak. His testimony was that he received a notice from the Attorney General that someone claiming to be Pallichadath Gopalan Nair had sent Emails to the above mentioned people attaching the blog post in which I had accused Judge Belinda Ang, the subject of my charge.
Based on this request, his testimony was that he got a Magistrates Warrant to arrest me. He and 4 other police officers kept watch for me at Broadway Hotel on May 31, 2008 and arrested me there. He claims that immediately thereafter he took possession of the computer that I had used from the hotel lobby and sent it to the Criminal Investigation Computer Crime department for examination. He then outlined the various times he interrogated me while in custody and the various statements taken from me.
I cross examined him. I asked him if he was Muslim and does he realize that he will suffer terribly if he lied under oath. In fact Malay Muslims take the oath to Allah very seriously. They believe that if you lie before God under oath, not only you will suffer God's wrath, but also your entire family and generations thereafter will be under a curse and suffer terribly.
When a true Muslim lies under oath, the guilt in him is indelibly imprinted in his mind, and subconsciously whenever something untoward happens to him or to his family thereafter he subconsciously attributes it to God's retribution. And this is done by asking him whether he is a Muslim and from that moment, whether he answers the question or not, what he says will carry a painful price if untrue.
This is what Muslims believe.
ASP Razak Jakaria, chose not to answer the question.
The judge immediately told me that I was not to make reference to a person’s religion again to which I answered that "once was enough". It was enough for ASP Razak to know that lying uttering the name of God comes with terrible consequences and he will have to face it if he is guilty of it; if that is what he did.
I asked him if he examined the blue note book, which contained my Email password to which his answer was, believe it or not, that he "glanced through its pages very quickly". I countered his response by saying that instead of "glancing through the pages very quickly, I suggested that he would have instead "gone through it with a fine tooth comb" to which his response to the judge was that he did not understand how a "fine tooth comb" had any application in this case! As he did not understand the expression, I rephrased the question by saying that he would have gone through the book very carefully and in great detail; to which his answer was, believe it or not, he quickly went through that book and did not see in it anything very important!
Very convenient answer indeed! That book was crucial evidence. In it contained the password for my Email account firstname.lastname@example.org to which was attributed these various Emails that he alleges that I had sent to Attorney General Walter Woon, to Belinda Ang and the others! Very convenient for him therefore to say that he only "glanced though the notebook quickly"!
Even though, as you are aware, having failed to make me admit that it was I that sent these Emails, the statement of ASP Razak still makes reference to the Emails. I then pointed out to the Judge that as I am not being charged for sending these Emails, that the charge against me was for writing a blog post, and as I have all along admitted that it was I who published the blog post for which I am being prosecuted, why then is there the need to even refer to these Emails. The astonishing answer from the prosecutor Francis Ng Yong Kiat was that it was necessary as a background to this prosecution! As to why there is any need to lay a background by referring to the Emails, which I had not sent, and upon which they are not relying to prosecute me, is amusing.
The Email case, Judge Lai Siu Chiu of March 17, 2006
This case relates to an Email, which accuses me of sending an Email to Judge Lai more than 2 years ago, the words being
"Your Judge Lai Siu Chiu has no shame. The reason why she and her fellow judges punish and silence PAP critics are because judges are well paid and have comfortable lives. They are selling their souls and their conscience for money. They are misusing the law for personal gain. Your Singapore judges including Lai are corrupt judges".
The charge is the same, Section 228 of the Penal Code, namely insulting a judge.
The curious thing about both these charges is that a reading of the charge tends to imply an instance where the defendant had gone to court while proceeding were under way, and there, in the court, insulted the judge. You can imagine a scenario where, for instance, a disgruntled litigant whose case had earlier been thrown out by a particular judge, and is now angry at him, goes to court and insults him.
In my case, I had done no such thing. In the Belinda Ang case, I wrote a blogpost. I did not go to court and insult her. Neither did I invite her to read my blog. I never sent any Emails to her. How in heavens can a court even suggest that I had insulted Belinda Ang "while she was sitting in proceedings" with a blog post is incredulous.
And in the Judge Lai case it is even more so, because in March 17, 2006 I was not even in Singapore! I was in California. Should not a man be within the jurisdiction for criminal law to attach?
The magistrate as expected, no surprises here, found there to be sufficient evidence to have me stand trial. The case comes up in the High Court on Sept 08, 2008.
Wish me luck. Although it is a nightmare, I am learning even more about Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew's first world country.