Ladies and Gentlemen,
Alan Shadrake, the British author who was arrested in July 2010, in Singapore after he wrote a book which did not please the island's strongman Lee Kuan Yew is still in Singapore. He is literally a prisoner in the island, meaning, the island's police have confiscated his British passport thereby preventing him from leaving Singapore these last 6 months!
As far as I know, Singapore has not given him a work permit to work to maintain himself this long time, which means, unless you are a millionaire and can stay in hotels in Singapore at your own expense indefinitely, don't ever commit any offense in that island, because they will not only punish you, they would also financially ruin you as well.
Without a passport Shadrake cannot leave the island, and Lee Kuan Yew has instructed the airport not to let you leave, even if your embassy gave you another passport!
I guess the plan of this banana republic is this, it is not enough that you are punished by the court, you should also be ruined financially by forcing you to spend every penny you had, max out every credit card you have, and ruin your credit, by forcing you to keep spending your money in board and lodging in Lee Kuan Yew's island paradise for as long as they want!
I have read in Singapore's state controlled press that Shadrake had applied to leave the country and had promised to return for his trial, but they would allow no such thing. They told him that unless he put up an enormous sum of money, something like $80,000.00 in security, they insist that he remain in the island, and ruin himself!
Anyone can see that this is a disgraceful way to treat foreigners who ran foul of the law in Singapore. I can fully appreciate if the defendant is accused of serious crimes such as murder and has been denied bail. In such a case, one can understand why they won't let him go.
But Shadrake has not been detained. He is on bail. What is more, his arrest and conviction is illegal as a violation of his human rights of free speech. Even if it was a crime under Singapore's laws, it is a very minor one after all. In such a case there can be no justification at all to detain his passport and financially ruin him by refusing to let him leave and carry on with his life.
I am not suggesting at all that foreigners be treated any better than locals. But I am suggesting that the realities of a foreigner forced to remain in Singapore for long perioods should not be forgotten.
It is obvious that their situation is not the same as those living in that island. A Singaporean on bail is not prejudiced as he carries on with his normal daily life, continues to earn a living while the law takes it's course. But foreigners are different. They don't live there. They earn a living elsewhere. By forcing them to remain within the island for months or years at a time, by confiscating their passports is unjustly punishing him twice.
Singapore is a country that has no sense of decency or proportion whatsoever. It appears as a country with no shame. It simply does not care what anybody else thinks of them.
Any decent country worth it's salt would have some concern what the international community thinks of them. In a case involving a foreigner charged with a minor offense such as this, they should realise that he would be unfairly prejudiced if he is not dealt with immediately. Foreigners should be charged immediately, their cases heard within a few days and if there is an appeal, that too should be dealt with expeditiously. If that is not possible, they should be given work permits to earn an income for their upkeep over the long months. Merely confiscating their passports to ruin them financially is really a shameful act.
Attorney at Law
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Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
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