Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Singapore's Little India riots. Indian nationals arrested complain of police brutality, assault and torture in custody.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the December 8, 2013 riots in Singapore's Little India, Singaporean police have been repeatedly assaulting and torturing Indian nationals in custody to obtain confessions. They have also said they will be deporting 53 Indian nationals summarily without giving them any right to challenge their deportations.

This was reported in Singapore's state controlled newspaper the Straits Times of Dec 18, 2013 titled "Activist group calls for investigation into allegations of police assault" Please see

According to the report "Workfair Singapore, a group of civil society volunteers concerned about workers rights, said on Wednesday that it is "deeply dismayed" that some of the workers remanded on charges of rioting in Little India have complained of police assault in a place where there were no cameras."

You can see how despicable and cowardly the Singapore police are, if in fact these accusations are true, to assault them "where there are no cameras" for the obvious reason that they will not be found out. The Singaporean police should be ashamed of themselves. They should be held to account. They should not escape justice.

This organization, Workfair Singapore, should be applauded for doing an excellent job. They have correctly also in this report stated that such police brutality is illegal under the "United Nations Declaration against Torture (1975), and Convention Against Torture (1984) and statements made under coercion or duress are inadmissible in a court of law"

Workfair Singapore called on the Minister to appoint an independent investigator apart from the Public Prosecutor who has been asked by the judge to investigate, which should have complete access to all complainants as well as the police officers who were involved in the incident.

However what the Singapore government, one party police state wants to do is to ask the government public prosecutor to carry out a private investigation into the matter.

You can see how ridiculous this plan is. It is like asking the fox who had just recently stole the chickens to investigate whether any chickens were stolen! Or like asking an arsonist to investigate a fire!

Of course the plan, no prizes for guessing, is that in due course Singapore Public Prosecutor would make an official statement that he had assiduously carried out an impartial investigation and the result was that no one assaulted the Indian nationals and more, the Indian nationals are all congenital liars and should be very harshly treated. End of case, Singapore style.

Workforce Singapore also justifiably complains that "the police have decided that 53 of those investigated are to be deported summarily without trial. They correctly state that "the arbitrary deportation of these 53 persons raises grave concerns about the state of Rule of Law in Singapore"

You don't need to be a law professor to know that one doesn't simply pick people up and just deport them. They are human beings. They have a right to defend themselves before an impartial arbiter. And you are denying them that by simply deporting them. 

Workfair Singapore  have also noted that many of those arrested are going to have their work passes summarily cancelled and deported. This is completely unjustified. You simply cannot cancel someone's work permit, even if he is a foreigner, and simply pack him off. You have to give him a chance to explain himself before an independent tribunal before you do that.

The actions of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore smack of Nazi Germany and how the Gestapo would deal with their arrestees. This is not how a so called modern city state should be behaving.

In answer to Workfair Singapore's legitimate complaints, the Singapore Deputy Commissioner of Police, T. Raja Kumar, a clever selection by the Singapore authorities since he is a Tamil Singaporean of Indian descent, instead of choosing a Singaporean of Chinese descent who are in the majority, presumably to avert claims of racial discrimination, has predictably dismissed every single complaint of Workfair Singapore as being unjustified since there is, according to him, nothing wrong with anything the police did.

Here you will see how stupid he sounds. Please see their state controlled newspaper  Straits Times article of Dec 19, 2013 titled "Deporting foreigners "provided for in the law" says Deputy Commissioner of Police. Please see

He says in a blanket fashion "Laws such as the Immigration Act empower the authorities here to deport foreigners who are a threat to the safety and security of Singapore", as simple as that!

But he fails to mention that the authority who decides this is the government themselves with no opportunity for the poor deportee to contest it! It is like saying Hitler's Gestapo will decide whether you are a threat to Nazi Germany and then take you out to the yard and shoot you!

This Singaporean Tamil has to be told that in civilized societies you don't do it like that. First of all, there has to be rules and above all those rules have to be fair. Simply saying that we have the laws is simply not enough my dear Tamil T. Raja Kumar.

Once again he makes a blank general statement that "these 53 persons by their actions, satisfy the conditions for deportation" full stop! What arrogance!

He goes on in the report in the same fashion, to say that the government has the right to simply do anything they want and no one can question them because "that is the law"! He sounds more like Adolf Enichmann (I am sure the Tamil T Raja Kuamr has not heard of him), Hitler's right hand man at the concentration camp to a question from a Jew who is just about to be incinerated, "that is the law, my dear" !

No need to waste valuable time on this rubbish from Lee Kuan Yew's Deputy Police Commissioner. You can read the article for yourself.

As I had earlier known the Singapore police are going to engage in police brutality as they ordinarily do whenever they arrest any suspect.

When I was arrested in 2008 and had to spend eight days in police custody, for a blog post I wrote, I too was subjected to police brutality through prolonged sleep deprivation and being repeatedly interrogated with repeated threats to extract a confession. I did not confess. But these young men are simple people without a legal background and obviously easy prey to be abused at will.

I applaud the work of Workfair Singapore in what they do. Singaporeans, the Indian government and the Indian people should condemn this police brutality and should agitate and condemn them for their actions.

In the end, as always, it is the shallow minded Singapore government which will suffer the consequences of this police brutality. Firstly the world has already heard of it. That is bad already.

Second, the Indian nationals will one day return to their country. Their newspapers, which are free and independent unlike the state controlled ones in Singapore will pick up their stories, and you would have created a long standing ill will between the government and people of India against this banana republic one party Singapore police state.

This will further alienate not only Indians but good people all around the world, not forgetting Singaporeans of conscience which will add to the already mounting problems that this small minded cowardly island already faces.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

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