SAFEnet: Drop Charges Against Singapore Activist Jolovan Wham

SAFEnet Urges Singapore Government To Drop Charges Against Prominent Activist Jolovan Wham

On November 29, 2017, Jolovan Wham was arrested by the Singapore police. Wham was charged by the police for doing three illegal activities:

1. Conducting public meetings on democracy and activism by inviting Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong as one of the speakers via Skype on November 26, 2016.

2. Staging a silence act on MRT train where Singaporean activists closed their eyes and read the book “1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On” on June 3, 2017.

3. Creating an open invitation through Facebook for people to attend the action in front of the Changi Prison Complex on July 13, 2017.

Singapore police sued Jolovan Wham with the Public Order Act, Vandalism Act, and Penal Code. According to Singapore Act, organizing or attending a joint action without permission is a crime. Anyone found guilty could be fined up to SGD 5,000. If repeated, they can be fined twice and or imprisoned for 6 months.

In two days, on December 13, 2017, Wham’s trial will begin. At the same time, a number of human rights activists in Singapore who have been involved in silent acts with Wham are getting the same threat.

SAFEnet, the network of freedom of expression activists in Southeast Asia, paid close attention to Jolovan Wham’s detention while giving solidarity to Wham and other human rights activists in Singapore who have been under pressure from the Singapore government.

According to Article 19 of the General Declaration of Human Rights, what Jolovan Wham and the human rights activists express in Singapore is the right of every citizen to express and should be protected.

Therefore, SAFEnet:

1. Strongly criticizes Jolovan Wham’s arrest by Singapore police because it is against human rights, especially the right to express.

2. Urges Singapore Government to immediately drop charges against Jolovan Wham and stop all legal proceedings that are currently underway.

3. Demands Singapore Government to guarantee it’s citizens the right to assemble and hold public opinion as something that has been guaranteed by the General Declaration of Human Rights.

4. Supports the human rights activists in Singapore to exercise their rights as citizens for a more democratic life.

Jakarta, December 11, 2017

SAFEnet/Southeast Asia Freeedom of Expression Network

Read more statement from other organisations:

International organisations:

Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/29/singapore-drop-case-against-peaceful-protester

Amnesty: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa36/7516/2017/en/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=article&utm_term&utm_campaign=social

Front Line Defenders: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/jolovan-wham-under-investigation-holding-candlelight-vigil

Article 19: https://www.article19.org/resources/singapore-drop-charges-jolovan-wham-stop-going-crackdown-freedom-expression-assembly

FIDH: https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/singapore-judicial-harassment-against-mr-jolovan-wham-and-eight-other

Regional organisations:

52 Malaysian NGOs: https://www.facebook.com/amateursaid/posts/1746463818719405

Hong Kong’s Demosisto: https://twitter.com/joshuawongcf/status/935741923809267712

SEAPA: https://www.seapa.org/activist-faces-multiple-charges-for-organizing-public-assemblies-without-permit/

FORUM-ASIA: https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=25288

Local organisations:

Community Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1178381658968194&id=581508831988816

AWARE: https://www.facebook.com/awaresg/posts/1722770424402056

Function 8: https://www.facebook.com/function8ltd/posts/865386606971648

MARUAH: https://maruah.org/2017/12/03/maruah-statement-on-arrest-and-prosecution-of-jolovan-wham/

5 Singapore NGOs (Think Centre, Sayoni, Project X, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign and Function 8): https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/12/10/joint-statement-by-singapore-ngos-on-the-prosecution-of-jolovan-wham/

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