High Court Judge Steven Chong had rejected Singapore Democratic Party’s Dr Chee Soon Juan’s appeal for free speech yesterday, slapping a $20,000 fine and a 20-weeks imprisonment in default.
On 20 June 2006, Chee was charged with eight counts of speaking in public without a licence between 13 November 2005 and 22 April 2006 on the basis that he allegedly violated the Public Entertainments and Meeting Act.
Four charges were left on appeal; the Attorney-General dropped three charges and Chee served a jail term for one.
The following is an excerpt from the Singapore Democrats website.
Dr Chee Soon Juan’s appeals to the Judiciary to protect the freedom of speech of Singaporeans has again failed. High Court Judge Steven Chong this morning upheld Dr Chee’s convictions for speaking in public without a permit.
The SDP leader was sentenced to $20,000 fine and 20-weeks imprisonment in default. Dr Chee was given until 10 Feb 11 before beginning his jail term.
In his submissions, Dr Chee had argued that the system was abused by the PAP and laws were being used by the ruling party to deny the opposition and civil society from exercising their political rights.
With civil liberties, the opposition and the people are prevented from publicly discussing and bringing pressure to bear on the PAP to protect their economic rights.
Shorn of their rights, Singaporeans today find themselves in a helpless position even as they find their jobs threatened and their wages decline. They continue to remain at the mercy of a Government whose greatest priority to take care of the elite.
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