Amnesty International urges action for activists fined for peaceful protest

Three activists have been convicted for organising a protest in 2014 and have been ordered by the court to pay substantial fines.

Han Hui Hui, Ivan Koh Yew Beng and Janet Low Wai Choo, were convicted for offences including of participating in an ‘illegal assembly’ and ‘causing a public nuisance’ by the Singapore State Courts on 27 June.

The three were arrested after leading a protest on 27 September 2014 in Hong Lim Park, the only space in the country where people are able to assemble and demonstrate without a police permit.

Han Hui Hui was charged in October 2014 under section 143 of the Penal Code and section 290 of the Public Nuisance Act for her participation in a peaceful protest that called on the Singaporean government to return Central Provident Fund pension savings to members.

Following the protest, Han Hui Hui and several other participants were investigated by police for allegedly overstepping the parameters set by the National Parks Board, that impose limitations on assembly and speech.

The protest took place at the same time as another event in the park, which the group was accused of encroaching on.

Han Hui Hui has been fined S$3,100, while Koh Yew Beng and Low Wai Choo were each fined S$450.

Amnesty International states that the prosecution and conviction of these individuals reinforces a climate of intimidation and judicial harassment of activists within the country and violates their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to Singaporean law, as Han Hui Hui’s fine exceeds S$2,000, she will be barred from running for office for the next five years, including the upcoming general elections in 2020.

The Singapore Constitution provides for the right to peaceful assembly but allows the state extensive powers to impose restrictions on it, which go well beyond those permitted under international human rights law.

The three individuals have appealed against the conviction to the Singapore High Court in a petition dated 20 September. While there is currently no date fixed, the hearing of the appeal is expected to take place within the next two months.

Amnesty International urges supporters of these individuals to write immediately in English or your own language urging the authorities to:

  • Ensure that the convictions of Han Hui Hui, Ivan Koh Yew Beng and Janet Low Wai Choo for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly are quashed, and the fines and other penalties cancelled;
  • Repeal or amend all legal provisions that violate the right to freedom of expression and assembly, including section 142 of the Penal Code and section 290 of the Public Nuisance Act;
  • End the penalization, intimidation and harassment of government critics in the country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 DECEMBER 2016 TO:

  • Prime Minister
  • Lee Hsien Loong
  • Prime Minister’s Office
  • Orchard Road
  • Istana, 238823
  • Singapore
  • Fax: +65 6835 6621
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
  • Attorney General
  • Vijaya Kumar Rajah
  • Attorney-General’s Chambers
  • 1 Upper Pickering Street
  • 058288
  • Singapore
  • Fax: +65 6538 9000
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Salutation: Dear Attorney General

And copies to:

  • Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong
  • Ministry of National Development
  • 5 Maxwell Road
  • #21-00 & #22-00 Tower Block, MND Complex
  • Singapore 069110
  • Fax: +65 6325-7254
  • Email: [email protected]