Ravi continues human rights campaign in Europe

February 7, 2007
Singapore Democrats

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An official from the Singapore Embassy taking photographs of the protestersThere are a number of people “wanting to discuss” the violations of human rights in Singapore, human rights lawyer Mr M Ravi reports from Europe.

Mr Ravi is presently in Brussels, Belgium for a three-week attachment with the European Parliament.

The attachment is part of an on-going programme jointly organised by the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (http://www.cald.org) of which the Singapore Democratic Party is a member and the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe (http://www.alde.eu).

Mr Ravi was already busy on his first day “in the office.” Together with a group of Falungong practitioners, the lawyer visited the Singapore embassy in Brussels to deliver a protest letter, calling on the Singapore Government to stop its persecution of Falungong members.

Mr Rama, the First Political Secretary at the embassy, was on hand to accept the letter.

M Ravi (background) with Falungong members outside the Singapore Embassy in Brussels“In the usual fashion he spoke to us like speaking to schoolchildren,” Mr Ravi reported, “telling us that you must obey the law, if not you will be punished.”

Mr Ravi pointed out in his rejoinder that he had obeyed all the laws when he defended the practitioners in a trial. It was instead the police who did not obey the law when they confiscated his defence exhibits and cordoned him off.

“What sort of law is that?” Mr Ravi asked the diplomat.

“I am going to highlight the repression in Singapore to the European Parliament during my stay here,” the Singaporean lawyer told the embassy official. “If we continuously get the message that we cannot protest, I will go overseas, urge other Singaporeans to start protesting outside Singapore embassies worldwide.”

The Singapore embassy officials even took pictures and videotaped the protesters.

First Political Secretary, Mr Rama, receiving the letter from protesters“At one point they were trying to hide behind the curtains to do it,” Mr Ravi said. “We found it so silly because we could see the flashes coming from behind the curtain on the second floor.”

They stopped their activity when one of the protesters returned the compliment. One of the Belgian protesters was shocked at the behaviour of the Singaporean embassy and commented that this didn’t happen when protests were conducted at other embassies.

“This is how our Singapore officials are trained to make us a laughing stalk,” Mr Ravi added. “It shows that the police state is running out of ideas.”

Mr Ravi had just attended the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty in Paris as well as briefed a European Parliamentary human rights sub-committee on the mandatory death sentence in Singapore.