2 January 1998

DP Party Chairman Hails Singapore Democracy Leader; Calls On Singapore to Drop Charges

Hong Kong Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee hailed Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party, for courageously exercising his rights of free speech and assembly, and called upon the government of Singapore to end its use of the legal system to squelch dissent.  Mr. Chee was charged on December 31 after criticizing the government in an unlicensed speech in downtown Singapore.  If convicted, Mr. Chee faces a fine and a five-year ban on running in elections.

Martin Lee commented :

"I commend Chee Soon Juan for his courageous stance for democracy and human rights in Singapore.  I met him recently in Bangkok and was deeply impressed by him.

Chee Soon Juan is bringing much needed attention to the situation in Singapore, especially the government's manipulation of the legal system to suppress dissent.  A judicial system is meant to protect rights, not diminish or deny them.

I call upon the Singaporean government to withdraw the charges it has laid against Mr. Chee, to recognize the rights of all Singaporeans to speak and meet freely, and to end its stranglehold on political power."


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