28 Sep 2004

Amnesty launches appeal for Singapore opposition politician

SINGAPORE (AP) - Amnesty International on Monday said that a defamation ruling likely to bankrupt a key opposition leader may "inhibit political life in Singapore'' and called for a letter-writing campaign to support the embattled politician.
Chee Soon Juan, the leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, was ordered to pay damages to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong for calling into question their handling of public funds during the 2001 election campaign.

Lawyers for Lee and Goh estimate that Chee will end up having to pay Goh and Lee more than US$500,000 (euro 407,000), an amount he says he cannot pay.

In Singapore bankrupt politicians are barred from running for elections, due by 2007.

Amnesty has launched a letter-writing campaign on behalf of Chee, saying his situation has worsened because he is unable to get a local lawyer to represent him in Singapore's sham courts.

Goh, who currently serves as Singapore's senior minister and Lee, who holds the title of minister mentor, are both members of the ruling People's Action Party, or PAP.

Chee, a neuropsychologist, failed to show for a hearing earlier this month because he was traveling overseas.

He is scheduled to appear before the city-state's High Court Thursday, where he will appeal to reconvene a hearing on the amount of the damages.

Singapore's leaders say they sue to protect their reputations but critics charge the lawsuits are designed to cripple the opposition and democratic debate.

"Chee Soon Juan has confirmed he is working with foreigners and that his objective is to damage Singapore and its judiciary in the eyes of the world,'' Lee's press secretary, Yeong Yoon Ying, was quoted in local media last week as saying earlier this month.

State-linked broadcaster Channel NewsAsia said her comments came after Chee's appeal letter to Singapore's chief justice for a new hearing on the damages was copied to 13 foreign organisations, including Amnesty.
- AP


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Servant of YHWH עבד יהוה said...

Chee should go fly a kite. Don't like Singapore? Then just migrate out. Easy peasy.

friskodude said...


As promised, you actually identified yourself! Are you still in Singapore, or heading back to UK?


calm one said...

Someone do Chee a favour and tell him that his silly antics have lost their novelty appeal since the days of his glucose diet program.


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