Dr. Chee Soon Juan To Be Released From Prison

November 6, 2002
Singapore Democrats

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Dr Chee Soon Juan, Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) will be released from prison on Saturday (Nov 9) after serving a jail term of five weeks imposed by a District Court for trying to organize a labour day rally outside the Istana on 1 May this year.

Early last month, the court found Dr Chee and his party colleague Mr Gandhi Ambalam guilty of entering the Istana premises, Singapores presidential palace, on May Day and trying to speak at a rally to highlight the plight of Singapores workers and the poor. Mr Gandhi was also found guilty of a third charge of behaving in a disorderly manner on that day. Dr Chee was fined $4,500 and Mr Gandhi $3,000, but both decided to go to prison instead of paying the fine for offences which they said infringed on their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, guaranteed under Article 14 of Singapores Constitution.

Subsequently Mr Gandhi was released from prison after his family, expressing concern over neglect of medical attention at the Queenstown Remand Prison for his heart treatment, paid the fine.

Dr Chee had previously served two jail terms for speaking to fellow Singaporeans on, among other things, the importance of upholding the universal values of human rights and democracy.

During his latest incarceration, messages of solidarity and support for Dr Chees noble cause kept pouring in from regional and international organizations, some of which had also urged the Singapore government to adhere to the countrys constitution and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Singapore is a signatory.

Dr Chee is expected to step out of the Queenstown Remand Prison as a free man again on Saturday at 10.00am.