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It was a day of defiance for Tak Boleh Tahan activists at the gates of the Queenstown Remand Prison. After waiting for more than an hour this morning, the 20-or so SDP members and activists were in high spirits as they welcomed their fellow activist Mr Jufri Salim from 8 days of imprisonment.
Mr Jufrie, 26, emerged with Tak Boleh Takan T-shirt which he wore into prison, and his fist clenched and raised. He had chosen to go to jail rather than pay a fine of $1,200 for taking part in an assembly and procession on 15 Mar 2008 in front of Parliament House to mark world consumers day.
Happiest to see him was 8-year-old Ari, Mr Jufri’s eldest son, who had been crying because he missed his father.
At the time when he was sentenced, Mr Jufri told the sentencing judge that he was pleading guilty only because of his work commitments which did not allow him to continue fighting the lengthy trial and not because he felt he had done anything wrong.
He added defiantly: “I am glad to serve time for a cause I believe in.” For that and his resolve to stand up to the authoritarian regime, the young human rights defender earned the admiration of many in Singapore.
The chairman of SDP, Mr Gandhi Ambalam, was on hand with an impressive garland to honour Mr Jufri as the rest raised their hands shouting “Merdeka!” (independence) and singing the human rights anthem We Shall Overcome.
Following the reception at Queenstown, the group proceeded back to Mr Jufri’s home to celebrate his release with brunch.
In the meantime, the trial of the other 15 TBT protesters continues at Subordinate Courts No 5 on Monday at 9.30am.
Watch video here