Jan 25, 2018 — The petition, along with 4915 of our signatures, has been sent to both the Attorney General's Chambers and the Prime Minister’s Office, in both email and physical copy. We hope that our leaders will listen intently to the voices of this petition, and make wise decisions going forward. Thank you once again for showing your support and making your voices heard, and let us continue to do so for Jolovan and other activists.
Read our letter below:
Dear Attorney General Lucien Wong & Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,
We are a group of people from all walks of life concerned about the recent prosecution of activist and social worker, Jolovan Wham.
On 29 November 2017, Jolovan Wham was charged with 7 offences under the Public Order Act, Vandalism Act, and the Penal Code for peaceful and non-violent acts.
As an activist, Jolovan has spoken out against detention without trial and has been an untiring and staunch advocate of free speech. As a social worker, he has been a champion for migrant workers who faced exploitation and poor working conditions in Singapore. He was also conferred the Human Rights Award in 2010 by then MP, and current President, Madam Halimah binti Yacob.
The alleged public assemblies involved holding a vigil outside Changi Prison for a death row inmate, organising a silent protest in a train, and a forum involving a foreign speaker via Skype. The vandalism charge is for affixing two A4 papers expressing support for the detainees of the alleged 1987 marxist conspiracy on a panel of an MRT train, which were subsequently removed.
The prosecution of Jolovan Wham has a chilling effect on free speech where the justice system is used as a tool of intimidation against peaceful and non-violent activists. These charges also violate his constitutional and universal rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Non-governmental organisations and other groups have made statements in support of Jolovan and urging the government of Singapore to drop these charges against him. They include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Function 8. Last month, a
group of Malaysian NGOs and individuals released a joint statement expressing solidarity and urging for the charges to be dropped. A solidarity event was also held in Malaysia.
Our petition, ‘Drop charges against Jolovan Wham; Protect our freedom of expression’ (attached), has thus far garnered almost 5000 signatures, and the general sentiment expressed is that such action by the government on a single individual is seen as more vindictive than justice. A few of the petition organisers have also organised an event at Hong Lim Park on 10 December 2017, Human Rights Day. It was an event that saw speakers sharing poetry, verses, and songs, in solidarity with Jolovan and against what is seen as a clampdown by the government on peaceful activists.
We believe that social activists have an important role to play in Singapore society, too, and are no less patriotic or committed to the progress of Singapore than those in the government.
We urge you to:
- drop all charges against Jolovan Wham, and to
- uphold our constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly by amending the laws that prevent peaceful citizens from doing so, such as Section 7 of the Public Order Act.
on behalf of 4915 signatories
Keep fighting for people power!
Politicians and rich CEOs shouldn't make all the decisions. Today we ask you to help keep Change.org free and independent. Our job as a public benefit company is to help petitions like this one fight back and get heard. If everyone who saw this chipped in monthly we'd secure Change.org's future today. Help us hold the powerful to account. Can you spare a minute to become a member today?I'll power Change with $5 monthly