Published: Monday August 28, 2006
Singapore- The trial of two members of the Falungong religious group was scheduled to resume Tuesday after a Singapore judge refused to halt the proceedings based on a lawyer's allegations of "unfair treatment." M Ravi, representing computer engineer Erh Boon Tiong, 49, and housewife Ng Chye Huay 42, complained Monday that the prosecution had not handed over a video compact disc (VCD) showing the two displaying insulting words on a banner on July 20 opposite the Chinese Embassy.
The banner read, "7:20 Stop prosecution of Falungong in China." July 20 marked the anniversary of China's crackdown on the Falungong movement.
Chinese characters were translated to read, "On hunger strike to protest the Chinese Communist Party's prosecution of Falungong practitioners."
Erh and Ng were charged with using words that were likely to cause harassment to Chinese embassy staff, visitors and passers-by.
The Falungong is banned in China but legal in Singapore.
Ravi told District Judge Siva Shanmugam that his clients' rights had been violated as two prosecution witnesses were present when he revealed that he would cite political motivation as a defence.
"Singapore is being influenced by the Chinese government in pressing the charges, and now the witnesses will tailor their testimony to prevent me from making this argument," The Straits Times quoted him as saying.
The judge said that nothing the two witnesses had heard would prejudice the case. He refused to halt the proceedings so that Ravi could file a criminal motion in the High Court.
© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur