Monday, June 16, 2008

Singapore. Another day in court.

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.

Good night.

Gopalan Nair


Blue Devil Knight said...

We in the US are watching and support you. If they had just ignored your discussion, they would have much less negative press here in the US. Now we all believe, based on your incarceration (not on your blog assertions), that Singapore is a place that does not value free speech!

Stay strong, we are thinking of you frequently!

Bukit Chandan said...

We in Malaysia are also facing the same kind of Judiciary and Police rots.

We think that Dr Mahathir and Lee Kuan Yew are of a kind.

Good luck and we wish you get through this ordeal unscathed.

Best Regards.........

Sylvester Lim said...

The authorities are attempting to wear down your resolve and with all the U-turns in the charges, these sensitive people are looking for a 'face-saving' method of resolving this. A typical Singaporean will buckle under the pressure from the police force and having had their way for ages, they are unsure of the next step. They can only react the only way they know how, throwing their version of the law book at you and invaribly losing more credibility as the case goes on. Keep yourself well and good luck.

Tattler said...

Since they accused you of sending the alleged emails to judge Ang, and then revised their stand, can you sue them fro wrongful detention? Can you get forensics to check when the alleged email was sent? The information should be on the email header. Finally, since your offending remarks was on your blog, hosted presumably on a US site, can you claim the First Amendment for defence?

Anonymous said...

Lee Kuan Yew should be prosecuted for TREASON against Singapore for subverting the Democractic system put in place by the British and used by Lee Kuan Yew to come to power. Lee should then have to suffer the consequences as set out by current law for treason in Singapore.

If the Attorney General of Singapore truly stood up for law he would act against Lee and his son who have turned Singapore into a dictatorship, the fact that the Attorney General does not prosecute Lee makes him guilty of not upholding the Democratic Constitution of Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew subverted a functional democratic system with a strong opposition that actually could win an election if:

1) Gerrymandering of ridings and vote counting irregularities (as has been claimed by many sources) were not practiced by Lee and the People's Action Party.

2) The public was not threatened with withdrawal of financial support for their electoral riding as is done under the PAP's rule

3) Strong opposition leaders that made serious attempts to win a majority election for their party were not jailed and or bankrupted as Lee was not back in the 1950's when he came to power under the original British Parliamentary Democratic system.

4) The Singapore Media was not owned and controlled by the Singapore People's Action Party majority government - essentially making the main Singapore media a branch of the People's Action Party.

Any real democratic court in the world would rule that Lee Kuan Yew is a dictator that has demolished the original British Democratic system that was in place when he used it to attain power in 1959.

Singapore Elections Act states:

Undue influence
59. Every person who —

(a) directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict, by himself or by any other person, any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting at any election; or

(b) by abduction, duress or any fraudulent device or contrivance, impedes or prevents the free exercise of the franchise of any elector or voter, or thereby compels, induces or prevails upon any elector or voter either to vote or refrain from voting at any election, shall be guilty of the offence of undue influence.

Lee Kuan Yew and his Prime Minister Son Lee Hsien Loong are guilty of using Undue Influence in the Singapore Parliamentary Elections Act by threatening to withhold money to constituents who vote in an opposition politician and also by bankrupting and or imprisoning Singapore political leaders who make a serious attempt at winning a majority of seats from an election for members of Singapore's Parliament.

Anonymous said...

I salute you for your bravery. Lee Kuan Yew will use all his tricks to wear you down. Just ignore them and stay focus on your good heart inside youself and you shall overcome these evil people. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

You are one brave soul!

Anonymous said...

As an American, it seems to me that criticizing public officials is how we Americans naturally behave. Charging you for insulting them is akin to arresting you for being an American! The State Dept. should issue a travel warning for Singapore! Is Singapore now going to start arresting visiting US citizens who may have, at one point in past years, posted a critical comment about the Singapore government to the Internet? There must be millions of us who think Singapore deserves to be insulted!

I am also quite irritated at Singapore's attempt to extend the jurisdiction of its stupid, 3rd world laws to within the US. You wrote your blog primarily in California and you may or may not have sent an e-mail from California. That is inside the US, where Singapore laws should not apply. If they are insulted, let them try to sue you in California! Oh wait, they won't do that, because California courts are fair.

Stay strong! My friends and I are all writing to our Congressmen to let them know about you!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick word of encouragement. Hang in there and I wish you all the best for your courage to stand up. I almost felt sorry for the Singapore authorities in trying to make this charade look lawful. I am amazed that they could all keep a straight face while doing all this.

Fong Yoong Kheong said...

Seems like an overly exaggerated action taken by the authorities.

Lan Jiao Lang said...

You could very well have avoided all this trouble by staying put in the US and not coming to Singabloodypore. But you have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that you have to guts to stand up to this government. And for that, we take our hats off to you for your boldness and courage, something very much lacking in the majority of Sinkies here who live in deep,crippling fear of the government.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, looks like they have nothing to pin on you. In the end, they will lose face with their citizens and rest of the world (all because they were trying to save face for trying to hide the truth). They should have thought twice when they arrested an American exercising his freedom of speech in the US-based blog, an absolute right enshrined in the first Amendment.

നന്ദു said...

Dear Mr. Nair,
appreciate your courage!.
With Love :)

sEmut said...

very same situation here in malaysia..
poor raja petra..

Anonymous said...

I am Singaporean and I believe that everything you have said is true and unabridged. The Lees' government began as democracy and is slowly gearing up to monarchy if it has not already become so. I think you've done the right thing migrating to US, though its little use hoping to open up any other local mindsets. The majority of the population have been brainwashed by the Lee administration and will hear nothing against it.

Anonymous said...

stay strong, you are to be applauded for standing up for what you believe in. i wish you well, and hope your efforts will not be in vain.

Anonymous said...

this government is too paranoid. hey, PAP, grow out of this immaturity, please!

Anonymous said...

there is a need for people like you in this world, people like you who are willing to sacrifise your sanity and time dealing with people such as the self proclaimed democratic government of Singapore.

It gives me an eye opener to see the situation from the eyes of the actual party involved, and from the written version from the national media source, and it clearly demonstrates how issues that would cause public outrage as to how you were treated is not, and never will be, revealed to the public if you had never expressed it out on your blog.

This government is not just paranoid, they are so for a reason. The very basis of their control over the people of Singapore, stems from creating this paranoial in its people, making its people believe only through such hard-handed ways of control does peace come about. It wants people to believe that its decisions are the best. Its governance is the best. The people at the top should never be questioned or to bear the burden of any punishment when anything goes wrong.

Its a government that has the cake and eats it. It doesn't want questioning from its people, but when things go wrong, its due to the complacency of the people. When people question, they are screwed left, right and centre bcos' this is a top notch government that gives no mercy when its integrity is question.

Nice going, PAP. What u're doing is being seen by many, its just a matter of time that instead of screwing others, u're simply screwing yourself up in your nice fat ass.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand how some people like lan jiao lang (I guess he truly is one) who act as a keyboard warrior and says with a sweeping statement how all Singaporeans are hiding. He should wake up and smell the roses before making such statements

Anonymous said...

So you all support GN's statement that PRC Chinese are out to spy on other countries?

Anonymous said...

Singapore doesn't endorse free speech. nothing you didn't know before that's why you gave up your citizenship for the american one

you should have just stayed in america and not come back and then cry foul

Anonymous said...

Commenting from Fremont, CA. I read your story in the San Jose Mercury newspaper. This is amazing. Just hang in there and your time will come to return home. You have done nothing wrong and it just shows the governments face. We are praying for you!

Anonymous said...

As an avid 15 year old political blogger, i agrees with some of the comments made here, visit my blog to comment on my way of thinking, and if it is the same as you all here.

Mr. Nair, God Bless You.