Opposition and civil society must speak up on Gomez issue: M Ravi

May 11, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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The recent police investigations of James Gomez and impounding of his passport  is an intimidation against opposition politicians and raise profound concerns in the  manner in which they are treated.

It is disquieting to see that the police have proceeded with such a frivolous ground of criminal intimidation as reported in the press.

The video footages of what transpired at the Elections Department between James Gomez and the officials were replayed several times in the local media.

The alleged conversation between James Gomez and the officials clearly showed that there was no such intimidation. This conversation was brought before full view of the public.

By no stretch of imagination, one can safely say it was intimidation.

It is also disturbing that the leaders of opposition parties (except the SDP) are resoundingly silent on this issue. This has sent dark clouds across the bright skies after the elections.

It is also apparent from the reports that James Gomez’s passport has been impounded.  He is being treated as a criminal even before a charge had been preferred against him. 

This is a serious violation of his basic right to freedom of movement.  A bail could be set to ensure his presence in Singapore. But to impound his passport is to deny him of any benefit of doubt, the presumption of innocence.

This blatant attack on civil liberties once again erodes our confidence in the Criminal Justice System.  In the absence of an Independent Elections Department and Parliamentary Ombudsman, the present climate is one of suppression of political opponents.

It reinforces the fact the fault that we continue to live in a police state.

I invite the opposition parties to stand united in opposing the continued investigation against James Gomez for it is a serious violation of our right to self-determination which encompasses political freedom.

I also appeal to all members of Civil Society of Singapore to voice their opposition to the unjust and oppressive treatment of James Gomez.

Fairness and justice must prevail as these principles are essential to the progress of a swing towards free and fair elections.

As a concerned citizen, I am filing a complaint to the United Nations rapporteur for Humans Rights for their urgent intervention which is why we have to seek foreign help when all else fails.

M. Ravi
Human Rights Lawyer

Singapore