By Koh Gui Qing
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore opposition politician Chee Soon Juan and two supporters have been summoned to court by the police for speaking in public without a permit between November 2005 and April 2006, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.
Chee, leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, and Yap Keng Ho and Gandhi Ambalam have been told to appear in court on June 20, police spokesman Victor Keong said.
Public speaking is prohibited in Singapore unless speakers have been licensed by the government.
"Our officers observed that Dr. Chee and other SDP-related persons were giving extended speeches and not merely making a sales pitch to sell their publications," Keong said.
Chee, who was served eight summonses, could not be reached for comment.
"The SDP is determined to break the PAP's stranglehold on free speech and peaceful assembly in Singapore," the SDP said on its website.
The wealthy city-state has been criticised by Amnesty International for its tight controls on political expression, but the People's Action Party (PAP), which has ruled the city-state since independence in 1965, says that firm regulation of public debate and the media is necessary to maintain law and order.
The SDP did not win any seats in the May 6 general election, but won 23 percent of the votes in the wards that it contested. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's PAP won 82 of the 84 seats in parliament, keeping the same number of seats as before.
Chee's sister, Chee Siok Chin, has appealed to the court to annul the results of the election on the basis that it was not free and fair, but the Attorney-General has asked the High Court to dismiss her application, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Chee and his sister also face a defamation lawsuit, which was launched by Lee and his father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, over an article in the SDP's newsletter.
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