Monday, 6 February 2012

Human Rights Watch & Singapore


Singapore’s thin-skinned leader cannot tolerate any kind of criticism no matter how justified.  This is the way of all authoritarian governments dictators and Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore are no exceptions.  But having been imbued with exaggerated visions of grandeur  they see nothing wrong in poking its nose into the affairs of other countries while screaming blue murder when anyone dares to ‘interfere’ in their affairs.  This was evident yet again when I was arrested for daring to write a book about judicial and prosecutorial scandals which, by the way,  not only affected Singaporeans but people in other countries – Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Great Britain, Holland and Germany in particular.  

But in jailing me for telling a few much needed home-truths about squeaky clean Singapore, the misnamed Lion City was condemned from every corner of the globe as never before.  And they ensured my place on a very long list of many opponents and critics – brave political opponents who were heartlessly held without trial for up to 33 years without trial or  sued  on trumped up charges of defamation and bankrupted.  The Internal Security Act was not made to serve justice but to instill fear in the population and keep the people subservient to Lee Kuan Yew and the chosen few.

When, in 2008, the 30,000-member International Bar Association published a devastating report listing  abuse, lack of freedom of speech, manipulating a fake democracy and a bent executive and judicial system which hog-ties them to the whims of  the despot Lee Kuan Yew and his family in political and personal matters, they almost went into cardiac arrest!   They replied with a media frenzy denying all the allegations and inventing yet more lies in a bid to cover their shame.  It was easy to convince the average Singaporean because all the local media in government controlled as it is in all efficient dictatorships.     

And, of course, nothing has changed apart from a little window-dressing.  Human Rights Watch in New York delivered the latest bad news in its 2011 report on Singapore just over a week ago on February 3.  ‘The Singapore government,’ it said ‘should cease violating fundamental rights citing self-serving historical and cultural excuses that only tarnish its global image’ and went on to list the same examples of abuse that the IBA pin-pointed four years ago. Singapore’s rights record went before the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in May 2011,’ says HRW.  ‘The government either rejected outright or contested the premises of many recommendations for improvements in civil and political rights.  Concerns cited included the use of preventive detention, defamation suits to silence critics, restrictions on public protests, regular use of corporal punishment for a wide range of crimes, and criminalization of same-sex relations between men.

‘Singapore’s claims of exemption from human rights standards are just lame excuses for abuses,’ says Phil Robertson, its deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The people of Singapore deserve the same rights as everyone else, not more clever stories justifying government oppression.’

Despite the Singapore spin spouted by Minister K. Shanmugam that HRW was targeting only the Lion City,   more than 90 countries were included in it human rights record, including popular uprisings in the Arab world ‘that few would have imagined’.  In Singapore, the report reminded everyone,  the ruling Party in 2011 garnered its lowest winning margin since it took power in 1959 – a result that stunned the PAP.  ‘The government maintained virtually unlimited powers to detain suspects without charge or judicial review, using the Internal Security Act and the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. These laws have been used to incarcerate outspoken activists for prolonged periods without trial while keeping tight control over broadcast, radio, and print media, using a web of interlocking laws and policies that enable censorship and control over media, films, video, music, sound recordings, and computer games. Stringent laws are also used to control the circulation of foreign publications that allegedly ‘engage in the domestic politics of Singapore’.

The Registrar of Societies can deny registration to associations of 10 or more members on the grounds of being ‘prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order’. Police permits are required for any public event involving five or more people. And the government uses contempt of court, criminal and civil defamation, and sedition charges to rein in critics.

An application by the advocacy group Singaporeans for Democracy to hold an anti-racism rally at the Speaker’s Corner, a legally designated spot for rallies, on December 10, International Human Rights Day was rejected by police.

My case was also was highlighted for the umpteenth time worldwide for alleging in my book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, that the ruling party had interfered in court decisions involving capital punishment.  ‘The use of court sanctions for criminal defamation or “scandalizing the judiciary” discourages Singaporeans and foreigners alike from digging too deeply into problems of Singaporean governance,” Robertson said.

When my appeal was dismissed in the Supreme Court, the judges in trying to justify the prison sentence already already said it was the worst case ever to come before them.  My answer to that was one of the worst cases I exposed in my book concerns Malaysian Vignes Mourthi who went to the gallows mainly on the evidence of a corrupt Central Narcotics Bureau officer, Sgt S. Rajkumar.

This trusted cop was allowed to return to his duties immediately after being charged with rape and sodomy the night he arrested Mourthi in a drug sting operation and for attempting to bribe his young female victim whom he handcuffed to get his way.  His trial was delayed for two years after Mourthi went to the gallows – a legal manoevre no doubt to cover up scandal by clouding the facts.   Rajkumar was jailed for a mere 15 months. No mention was made of the rape and sodomy charges which could have landed him with a 30-plus jail term.  It can only be assumed now this evil man is now free to do as he likes.  

This is how justice is often served in this brave new world of Singapore.  How can it be that everyone involved in this case from the then law minister to the AGC to the Public Prosecutor to the judges did not know or were not informed of the evil in their midst?   And because the Press is muzzled, no reporter at the Straits Times would ever have dreamed of delving into it as I have done – and will continue doing.   The media in any normal country would have seized on this explosive scandal and saved Vignes’ young life.  But not in Sinister Singapore.  They just had to prosecute me for ‘scandalizing’ the judiciary while I maintain along with my supporters all over the world that  it was the judiciary and prosecutorial system who did the scandalizing - of themselves and the good people of Singapore.

In an online edition of Today, Law Minister  Shanmugam – who believes drug mules should be hanged and the drug barons go free -  continues the Singapore Spin.   ‘Singapore's Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly,’  and claimed I was charged because I had alleged, among other things, that the Singapore courts conspired with State agencies to suppress material evidence. Such a statement would be considered to be in contempt of court in several countries.

So what ‘several’ countries is he talking about.  North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran – all countries that rank closely in Reporters Without Borders’ freedom index.  Singapore’s is now 134!  You won’t read that in the Straits Times!

I rest my case!


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

WANTED: Whistleblowers in Singapore!

I promised my anti-death penalty supporters I would never go away!  So here I am - a perpetual thorn in the side of the PAP and its judicial and prosecutorial arm that has kept Singaporeans in a state of perpetual fear for far too long.

One of the most appalling cases of injustice concerns the trial of an alleged drug trafficker, Vignes Mourthi, who was hanged mainly on the evidence of a corrupt police officer, Sgt. S. Rajkumar - evidence that was inserted in an additional page and slipped in without a date or corroborative signature by Vignes Mourthi.  

This was challenged by his defense team but was ignored by the trial judge - and the appeal judges - while everyone must have known or should have known that the 'trustworthy' CNB officer was simulataneously being investigated for rape, sodomy and attempted bribery of his victim.  Rajkumar was jailed only for corruption and only for 15 months after a trial that took place TWO YEARS after 24-year-old Vignes Mourthi was hanged.  Isn't it obvious why?

If Rajkumar's trial had been held first - according to his appeal court lawyer, Subhas Anandan - they could not have continued with the case against Vignes Mourthi.  He would have been given the benefit of the doubt and set free.  He proclaimed his innocence until his death on the gallows.

And how come the crooked cop got only 15 months jail?  How much of that sentence was served wearing an ankle bracelet?  What happened to the rape and sodomy charges brought by the young woman whom he handcuffed first to carry out his revolting crimes?  Crimes that usually result in15 to 30 years behind bars?

It is obvious that the media in Singapore, particularly that dishonourable government daily pamphlet the Straits Times, more suitably labelled the Straits Jacket, was ordered not to publish this perfect example of judicial corruption for fear of the consequences.  I felt compelled to expose this scandal in my book, Once a Jolly Hangman:  Singapore Justice in the Dock. This in itself was considered a 'crime' by LKY's pliant AGC and judiciary for which I was jailed for two months.  But not for revealing the criminal behaviour of Rajkumar but because I merely expressed my opinion that everyone involved in this case must have known all about Rajkumar's rape, sodomy and bribery investigations while they were bent on sending Vignes Mourthi to the gallows 'but didnt have the guts to do anything to save' this young man!

I will not let this case to remain covered up and forgotten.  Similar cases of corrupt police officers which were exposed by campaigning journalists in the UK in the 1950s resulted in abolishment of the death penalty finally in 1965 and I will not stop my independent campaigning until the death penalty is abolished in Singapore.

To help my endeavours, I am now looking for whistleblowers to help blow the lid off the Rajkumar case so that he gets his just punishment.  Where is he now?  Having been deported on July 9 2011, I cannot return to Singapore to continue my research on a personal basis.  So I am now looking for 'insiders' willing and able to help.  I want to know where Rajkumar is making a living.  Back on the job at the CNB HQ in Chinatown?  Working as an informer?  Or trafficking himself?  That's also a possibility especially when such people can entice lowly, simple-minded mules who get bullied or enticed into the business by sophisticated adults and police officers like Rajkumar - and go free themselves!

If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of former CNB Sgt S. Rajkumar, please contact me at  You will be rewarded in Heaven!