written by law firm Amsterdam & Peroff about repression in Singapore is receiving extensive attention across the world. More than 160 online media organisations and news agencies have picked up the press release of the White Paper.
Entitled: The Repression of Political Freedoms in Singapore: The Case of Opposition Leader Dr. Chee Soon Juan, the document traces the years of oppressive measures taken by the PAP to silence its critics in Singapore.
Mr Robert Amsterdam, a prominent international human rights lawyer as well as an expert in corporate disputes, spearheaded the project.
The news was, perhaps, carried most extensively in the US by scores of local news networks all across the country. From Boise, Idaho to El Paso, Texas; from Tucson, Arizona to Spokane, Washington; from Reno, Nevada to Shreveport, Louisiana website after website featured the news. Even Honolulu carried the statement.
All in all, an incredible 160 news websites, big and small, published the press release. Many of these media outlets are affiliates of major TV networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.
Because of the upcoming APEC meeting many of the websites posted the news on its business and money sections.
The statement talks about the Government’s use of “unconstitutional domestic laws” to silence dissent and highlights the recently passed Public Order Act that has “consolidated further the authority of the ruling PAP over the political opposition.”
The release also mentions the judiciary and media. It says that the threat of defamation and libel suits have “created a climate for the suppression of political freedoms.”
It also calls for APEC leaders to meet with civil society and opposition leaders in Singapore, for ASEAN to establish a viable human rights commission, and for charges against Dr Chee and colleagues to be dropped.
Mr Amsterdam met Dr Chee when he attended the International Bar Association conference held in Singapore in 2007. The IBA subsequently published a paper that was critical of the judicial and legal systems in Singapore.
The lawyer had gone to the Istana where Dr Chee was protesting against Singapore’s investments and arms deals with the military regime in Burma.
The London-based Canadian lawyer agreed to become the SDP’s and Dr Chee’s lawyer in 2008 and has assisted the parties in their on-going trials in Singapore courts.
Mr Amsterdam’s clients include Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky who has been in jail for the last six years for supporting the Russia’s opposition.
Mr Amsterdam writes a high-profile blog here.