Singapore, March 3 (AP): Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan today defended his claims that Singapore's judiciary lacked independence, despite having been charged with contempt of court over the verbal attack.
Chee was charged after making the allegations at a February 10 court hearing at which he was declared bankrupt for failing to pay 500,000 Singapore dollars in damages to Singapore's two former prime ministers, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, for defaming them in 2001.
Chee, Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party, said he hoped his case would draw international attention on Singapore's courts, which he accuses of lacking independence.
"The Singapore judiciary must be the bulwark between the people and an authoritarian government," Chee said in a telephone interview. "I hope this will be able to focus attention on the judiciary. This has got to stop for the sake of Singapore."
In a court document posted on the opposition party's website, Singapore's attorney-general said Chee refused to answer the court's questions during the bankruptcy hearing.
The document said Chee instead read a statement which "imputed that the Singapore judiciary was biased and unfair, and that it acted at the instance of the government or conspired with the government in cases involving opposition politicians".
It said Chee had alleged that "the judiciary in Singapore is, sadly, not independent, especially when it comes to dealing with opposition politicians".