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Liberal International expresses its firm support for the fight for democracy and freedom of speech by the Singapore Democrat leadership Dr Chee Soon Juan and Ms Chee Siok Chin and strongly urges the Singapore government to guarantee democratic rights for its citizens.
Following the conviction of contempt of court by High Court Judge Belinda Ang on 2 June, Dr Chee Soon Juan and Ms Chee Siok Chin are sentenced to twelve and ten days imprisonment respectively. The conviction resulted from the cross-examination of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his son Mr Lee Hsieh Loong in the assessment of damages hearing held last week.
Today, Dr Chee and Ms Chee have been imprisoned for their commitment to democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The whole liberal family is inspired by the dedication and devotion for democracy shown by SDP members, including the leading personalities Dr Chee and Ms Chee. According to Graham Watson MEP, President of the ALDE group in the European Parliament: “The SDP is the most vocal opposition party in Singapore, openly challenging the PAP [the ruling party] and calling for democratic reform in the country. If the Lees manage to wind-up the party through bankruptcy, they would have managed to rid the country of its democratic vote.”
LI Bureau member Bi-Khim Hsiao expressed her support to Dr Chee’s cause: “As Asian democrats we are deeply disturbed by this news. In his commitment to promote a politically liberal society, Dr. Chee has persistently challenged the boundaries curtailing freedom of speech in Singapore. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the government and courts have chosen to respond to his demands for freedom by depriving him of his personal freedom.”
Mario Silva, an MP from the Liberal Party of Canada expressed his dismay at the way the government of Singapore has abused the country’s legal system. “The use of legal tactics such as lawsuits and the procedurally unfair adjudication of such matters are reprehensible and it’s important that nations such as Canada express their dismay and concern about such tactics.”
Liberal International stands by SDP’s resolute position of speaking up for the people who are denied their Constitutional rights to freedoms of speech, assembly and expression. Liberal International also expects from the Singapore authorities to honour its commitments to live up to international standards of justice and democracy ensuring Singaporean citizens their basic human rights.