Michael Fernandez files writ against Government

December 23, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Photo by TheOnlineCitizen

Former Internal Security Act detainee, Mr Michael Fernandez (left), is taking legal action against the PAP Government for imprisoning him without trial for nine years.

In his writ filed today in the High Court Mr Fernandez, 69, says that he was subjected to physical and mental torture, humiliation and loss of income during the period he was incarcerated from 1964 to 1973.Among the instances of battery that the plaintiff cited in his writ is that the prison authorties, home affairs ministry and the ISD had been complicit in manhandling him, shackling while force-feeding him, and depriving him of sleep.

Mr Fernandez is seeking damages for pain and suffering, loss of amenity, mental distress, humiliation/loss of reputation, and future medical expenses. Read the writ-of-summons here.

Watch Mr Fernandez’s two-part interview (Part 1 and Part 2) on the SDP’s Let’s Talk programme where he reveals his experience while under detention.

He has engaged Mr M Ravi as counsel. This is the first time an ISA detainee has taken legal action against the Government.

Throughout the decades the PAP has abused the ISA, handed down to it by the British colonial government, to crush dissent and decimate the opposition, media and civil society.

Today, several former detainees have spoken out against the PAP for the detentions. Dr Lim Hock Siew and Mr Said Zahari, detained under Operation ColdStore in 1963 for 20 and 17 years resepectively, have Youtube recordings about the injustice done to them.

Ms Teo Soh Lung wrote about her treatment under detention in 1987 in her book Beyong the Blue Gate which she launched in Singapore and Malaysia.

Mr Vincent Cheng recounted the torture and beatings he received at the hands of ISD officers in his speech at the SDP’s pre-election rally in September 2010 and called for former prisoners to speak up and end the injustice. (Watch Mr Cheng’s speech Part 1 and Part 2)

The Singapore Democrats have repeatedly called for the abolition of the ISA which has been wildly misused and abused by a regime bent on staying in power through unconstitutional means.

We further advocate a truth commission to look into the cases of abuse and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Reparations should also be made to the victims.