A forum, organised by Mr Martyn See, to discuss the ISA detention of 22 Singaporeans in 1987 code-named Operation Spectrum has been cancelled due to “CID investigation”.
Bestway Properties, where the forum was to be held, wrote to apologise to Mr See: “Due to the ongoing CID investigation, our company regret to inform you of the cancellation of the booking of Bestway Auditorium on 20th June 2009.”
This comes just one day after the Government denies through its US Ambassador, Ms Chan Heng Chee, that it beats and tortures ISA detainees. (See here).
The 1987 detainees were accused of conspiring to violently overthrow the Government in order to establish a Marxist state in Singapore. The silliness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s overactive imagination notwithstanding, the episode was a great setback to the activist scene in Singapore.
After they were released in 1988, nine of the detainees issued a statement saying that they had been subject to beatings and abuse. They said that they were deprived of sleep for as long as 70 hours in freezing cold rooms, some hit hard in the face for “not less than 50 times” and assaulted in other parts of the body. They were also “threatened with arrests, assault and battery of [their] spouses, loved ones and friends.”
This is not the work of police officers but gangsters authorised by state.
At first, the Government said that a commission of inquiry would be established to “get to the bottom of these allegations.”
The ISD promptly re-arrested the detainees during which time the prisoners were further ill-treated and forced to sign a statutory declaration to recant the allegations made in their statement. The commission was then conveniently called off.
Some of the former prisoners have documented their treatment in That We May Dream Again. This is also the subject of the chapter on Singapore in Dr Chee Soon Juan’s book To Be Free: Stories From Asia’s struggle Against Oppression.
The Singapore shame continues.