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Maurah Press Release – That We May Dream Again 2 June 2012 (Sat)

-- Background to the 25th Anniversary of Operation Spectrum –

On 21 May 1987, the Singapore Government mounted "Operation Spectrum" under the Internal Security Act. Sixteen individuals were arrested in the first wave, with another six detained soon after.

Two of the lawyers (including a former Solicitor-General of Singapore) who represented these individuals were subsequently detained as well. The arrested were lawyers, journalists, community and church workers and entrepreneurs.

The Singapore Government alleged that the detainees were "Marxist conspirators", without giving them the right of defence in an open trial. Instead, public "confessions" were elicited under the threat of indefinite detention without trial.

These "confessions" were repudiated in a press statement by nine of these individuals some months after their release. Eight of them were immediately re-arrested the next day, while the ninth signatory was in England at the time of re-arrest.

Nothing substantial or credible was ever produced to corroborate the government's allegations. Later documents showed even greater ambiguity in the reasons behind the detentions in 1987.

There is a strong sense of injustice that began on 21st May 1987 which continues to linger to this day.

-- Events to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Operation Spectrum –

MARUAH and FUNCTION 8 will join other organisations in commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the arrest of 24 persons during Operation Spectrum with events to be held at Speakers Corner, Hong Lim Park (Singapore) on 2 June 2012 (Sat). Please see Annex for details.

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Annex

Programme

3.00 pm : Exhibition opens
3.30 pm : Music performance by Patrick Chng and Joshua Chiang
4.00 pm :
Speeches by -
- Braema Mathi
- Martyn See
- Ravi Philemon
- Jeannette Chong Aruldoss
- William Yap
- Alfi an Sa'at
- Jolovan Wham
- Siew Kum Hong
- Vincent Wijeysingha

5.40 pm : Statements by -
- MARUAH
- FUNCTION 8

5.45 pm : Press Session
- Representatives of FUNCTION 8 and MARUAH will be available to speak to media at this point in the programme.

5.50 pm : "Lim kopi" sharing sessions with 8 ex-detainees of 1987

-- Editor's Notes --

-- Singapore's Internal Security Act --

Since the 1960's more than 2,500 Singaporeans have been detained under the Internal Security Act.

The Internal Security Act allows the arrest and indefinite detention of citizens without trial. It is a blunt instrument open to abuse by governments which can and has been used in the decimation of legitimate organisations and individuals opposed to their social, economic and political directions.

Between 1987 and 1988 the following were detained under Operation Spectrum which has also come to be known as the Marxist Conspiracy.

More recently, the ISA has been used to detain Jemaah Islamiyah alleged terrorists from 2001 onwards. None of the ISA detainees have ever been tried or convicted in a court of law.

-- About FUNCTION 8 --

Function 8 is an initiative by a group of citizens who strongly believe that there is a need to facilitate the sharing of social, political and economic experiences of those who had, or are eager to contribute to society through reflection and civic discussion.

The name "Function 8" represents their hope that, just like the F8 key in computers resets a computer to "safe" and basic mode for troubleshooting, they can also reflect safely over the basics of what makes societies strong, just and meaningful and the role of democratic processes in achieving those goals.

With their seminars, talks, workshops, discussions and reflections, they hope to restart the process of critical thinking, rejuvenate the staleness of a society based on economic expediency and reclaim the human dignity and freedom which is the basis of humanity.

More information on FUNCTION 8 can be found at http://fn8org.wordpress.com/

-- About MARUAH Singapore --

MARUAH is a human rights NGO based in Singapore.

"Maruah" means "dignity" in Malay, Singapore's national language. Human rights is fundamentally about maintaining, restoring and reclaiming one's dignity, and MARUAH strives to achieve this by working on national and regional human rights issues.

MARUAH is also the Singapore focal point of the Working Group for an ASEAN Human
Rights Mechanism, which is officially recognised in the ASEAN Charter as an entity associated with ASEAN.

More information on MARUAH can be found at www.maruah.org

For enquiries, please contact:
MARUAH Singapore Secretariat
Hp: 9623 9424
[email protected]