Ex-detainees fight back

June 6, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Activists call for the ISA to be abolished

Ex-detainee Mr Vincent Cheng has spoken out against his ban from speaking at a seminar at the National Library (see here). Mr Cheng who was detained for three years from 1987 to 1990 was beaten and severely abused by police officers at the Internal Security Department officers during his imprisonment.

No one has been held accountable for the terrible injustice and Mr Cheng has kept silent all these years. “I still bear the scars,” he said in a letter to Ms Amy Gay, an official of the National Library Board (NLB).

After banning him as a speaker at a forum entitled “Singapore History: Who Writes The Script?” held last Friday, the NLB added insult to injury and told Mr Cheng that he could attend as a listener.

Thanks but no thanks. The ex-detainee said, “I will be staying away from this event as a protest to the arbitrary suppression of my right of free expression as a panel speaker in the spirit of the Consitution of Singapore.” (Click here for to read the exchange of letters between Mr Cheng and Ms Gay).

In 1987, the Government arrested Mr Cheng and 21 other social activists and church workers for conspiring to violently stage a coup. Few believed the PAP’s story but could do little because of the Government’s use of raw power to silenced the entire population.

Another detainee, Ms Teo Soh Lung, who was accused with Mr Cheng and severely abused under detention for two years has yet to reveal her experience of the cruelty she suffered. With the Internet, however, the truth is beginning to bubble up. The PAP cannot keep the lid sealed any more.

Mr Cheng and some of the other detainees have begun to publish their side of the stories. Earlier detainees such as Dr Lim Hock Siew and Mr Said Zahari have also spoken out. The two opposition leaders were detained for 20 and 17 years respectively in 1963 with the help of the Brtitish colonial government.

Dr Lim has called for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to apologise to him while Mr Zahari has written his memoirs and recorded an interview where he recounted the 17 years of abuse he suffered at the hands of Mr Lee.

Another long-term ISA detainee, Mr Michael Fernandez, is working on a book relating how he had suffered under the PAP regime. (Watch video here).

The ISA has been wielded by the PAP to crush dissent it Singapore and rob Singaporeans of the democratic system we were promised at the birth of our Republic.

The SDP has steadfastly called for the abolition of the ISA. Such a law that is so egregiously abused by the ruling party has no place in modern Singapore. In addition, there must be an accounting of the abuse. Justice must prevail.

Read also:
Francis Seow: A day of ignominy

Watch videos:
Ex-political prisoner speaks out in Singapore (Dr Lim Hock Siew)