March 15, 2006
PM Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister’s Office
Istana, Orchard Road
Fax: 011 65 6332 8983
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to appeal to your sense of justice and respect for human rights. I ask you to intervene on behalf of Dr. Chee Soon Juan as he faces contempt of court charges that are an outcome of his conviction on the charge of libel. You know the story and the situation much better than I do.
You are also no doubt aware of the work of Amnesty International and the fact that, above all, Amnesty values the fairness and accuracy of its reports. You should, therefore, be concerned about Amnesty’s perception of the trials that have bedeviled Dr. Chee. Here are some quotes:
“Amnesty International is concerned about the continuing misuse of civil defamation suits and other laws for political purposes in Singapore to penalize and silence critics of the government. (Such suits have)… served to maintain a climate of political intimidation and self-censorship which stifles freedom of expression, … undermined
the requisite balance between the right to protection of reputation and the right to free speech.”
Maintaining social and political control is an important, legitimate function of government. But balancing that control with respect for the right to free speech is the sign of a mature, confident government.
At very least, Dr. Chee should have legal representation of his choice as he faces the new charges.
Please, sir, ensure that justice is done and the good name of Singapore is protected among human rights advocates around the world.
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