The case of Dr. Chee Soon Juan, the beleaguered Singaporeon opposition leader who government officials have sought to shut down with repeated phony lawsuits and charges, has taken a turn for the worse as a new trumped up charge has essentially made it a crime to assemble more than five people together in public to express discontent. In a somewhat related case, prosecutors have also secured convictions against the Wall Street Journal Asia for having reported on these events, citing contempt of court. Here is the latest from this important, landmark case for Southeast Asia:
Charged for “demonstrating opposition to government action” in Singapore
In the latest of a series of nine charges brought against Dr Chee Soon Juan who is the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, the Singapore government has stated that it is illegal for Singaporeans to come together to demonstrate opposition to Government action.
Dr Chee is charged with five of his colleagues when they distributed flyers on 10 September 2006 to announce their protest for freedom of speech during the World Bank-IMF Meeting held in Singapore in 2006.
It is illegal for 5 or more persons to gather in public in Singapore.
The law in Singapore says that permission is required for “any assembly or procession of 5 or more persons in any public road, public place or place of public resort intended —
(a) to demonstrate support for or opposition to the views or actions of any person;
(b) to publicise a cause or campaign; or
(c) to mark or commemorate any event.”