Home News Singapore activist picks jail over fine for criticising courts

Singapore activist picks jail over fine for criticising courts

Jolovan Wham was sentenced last year to a fine of Sg$5,000 (US$3,500) following a conviction for contempt of court -- but he did not pay, meaning he must serve the short prison sentence instead.

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

A Singaporean activist said Tuesday he had begun serving a one-week jail term after refusing to pay a fine for questioning the independence of the city-state’s judiciary in a Facebook post.

Jolovan Wham was sentenced last year to a fine of Sg$5,000 (US$3,500) following a conviction for contempt of court — but he did not pay, meaning he must serve the short prison sentence instead.

While wealthy and modern in many ways, rights groups say the city-state uses unnecessarily harsh laws to curb dissent, and have held up Wham’s sentence as evidence of this.

He had alleged in his post that Singapore’s judiciary lacked integrity and independence in cases involving the government or politicians.

- Advertisement -

Wham, who is also an advocate for migrant workers’ rights, appealed his conviction but it was dismissed by Singapore’s highest court.

In a Twitter post Tuesday morning, Wham said he was surrendering himself to the police to start serving his sentence after a send-off from supporters.

“I’m doing this in lieu of a 5k fine because I do not recognise the legitimacy of the (judgement) and the law, both of which are unjust,” he said.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Wham “did nothing wrong and Singapore is blatantly violating his human rights by imprisoning him.

“Every time Singapore imprisons a critic… the country’s modern image gets another black mark.”

Passing sentence last year, a judge said that Wham “did not show any remorse” even after conviction.

It was Wham’s latest run-in with the authorities. He had previously been fined Sg$3,200 for organising an illegal public discussion that featured prominent Hong Kong democracy campaigner Joshua Wong speaking via Skype.

His cases are among several that have alarmed rights groups, including that of a Singapore website editor charged with defamation and a lawsuit brought by the premier against a blogger.

mba/sr/kaf

© Agence France-Presse

/AFP

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

National reserves: Whatever their strategic value, Singaporeans have right to know how they are managed

  The ruling People’s Action Party is weaponising knowledge of the exact amount of Singapore’s national reserves as a way of helping it stay in power. That’s unacceptable. It does not have such an in perpetuity right. One of the debates in...

Jolin Tsai’s perky butt got the internet abuzz

Taipei -- Mandopop diva Jolin Tsai isn't shy of flaunting her figure in all kinds of sexy and revealing outfits and her fans are just lapping it up. The 40-year-old singer uploaded a couple of photos from her trip to Yangmingshan...

Man attacks teen, calls him a virus, damages his phone

Singapore—A sudden attack took a teen by surprise when one man started yelling at him, physically harming him, and throwing his phone into a nearby drain at around 10.30pm on Tuesday (Feb 23) on a section of the road near the...

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

Theindependent