UPDATE (SINGAPORE): Mistreatment of imprisoned Singaporean opposition leader


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-61-2002
ISSUES: Administration of justice,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updates regarding the imprisonment of Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and Chair of the 18-nation Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia (ARDA). Dr. Chee is being abused in a Singapore prison during his 5-week sentence (now at the end of its second week), where, this treatment is worse than his experience in Singapore jails during his prior two prison terms. 

According to Ling How Dong, a lawyer and SDP colleague, Dr. Chee is incarcerated in a poorly ventilated 7′ x 15′ cell with two other prisoners. Having been assigned to a straw mat next to the toilet “bucket”, he sleeps only two to three hours each night. Dr. Chee is afflicted with nausea and dizziness. Although he is taking prescription painkillers, he can only manage to eat fruits and drink tea, and he lost 10kgs of weight during his first ten day of incarceration. Mr. Ghandhi Ambalam, SDP colleague who was initially imprisoned with Mr. Chee and later released from prison after paying a fine, has drafted a letter of complaint to the International Red Cross about prison conditions in Singapore. 

Though Dr. Chee’s family members are permitted two brief prison visits per month, at the first visit, his wife was reportedly harassed by the authorities, who both threatened to withdraw her right to and repeatedly changed the date of the second visit. Mrs. Chee claims that these difficult conditions constitute an attempt by the authorities to apply physical and psychological pressure upon Dr. Chee, in order to deter him from continuing with his political activities. 

Furthermore, sources state that the trial in which Dr. Chee and Mr. Ambalam were convicted did not meet fair trial standards, as the judge was purportedly biased during the proceedings and showed unnecessary deference towards the public prosecutor. This reflects charges made by legal activists who claim that the judiciary as a whole is corrupt and controlled by the government. 


As the physical and psychological integrity of Dr. Chee Soon Juan, and any imprisoned individual must be protected, please send your appeals to the government of Singapore, urging them to; 

– ensure Dr. Chee’s physical and psychological integrity, release him immediately, and cease the harassment to which he and his family is being subjected, 
– investigate both Singapore’s prison system and that Singapore ensures impartial trial proceedings, and 
– release Dr. Chee and abolish the Public Entertainment and Meeting Act, as all opposition groups and activists must be guaranteed the right to the freedom of expression in line with the Constitution of Singapore and international laws and standards. 

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER



I have been informed that political opposition leader, Dr. Chee Soon Juan is being mistreated, where his physical and psychological well being is violated, during his five-week incarceration. 

Dr. Chee’s family has been harassed, as the police threatened to take away the right to a second visitation. I ask that your government ensure Dr. Chee’s physical and psychological integrity, investigate the present situation of Singaporean prisons and the police treatment towards the Chee family. An investigation that examines Mr. Chee’s trial is also urgently needed, as concerns exist that the judge was purportedly biased and deferential towards the public prosecutors. 

Furthermore, I urge that Mr. Chee be released and that the Public Entertainment and Meeting Act, which he is accused of violating, be abolished as the act itself is unconstitutional under Section 14 of Singapore’s Constitution. 

Thank you for your expedient attention to this matter. 

Sincerely yours, 



1. Hon. GOH Chok Tong 
Prime Minister 
Orchard Road, 
Istana Annexe, 
Singapore 238823 
Fax: +65 67324627 
Email: goh_chotong@pmo.gov.sg or pmo_hq@pmo.gov.sg 

2. Professor S JAYAKUMAR 
Minster of Law 
100 High Street, 
#08-02 The Treasury, 
Singapore 179434 
Fax: +65 63328842 
Email: jayakumar_s@mfa.gov.sg or mlaw_enquiry@mlaw.gov.sg 

Also send the copy of your appeal to; 

Hon. Wong Kan Seng 
Home Minister 
New Phoenix Park, 
28 Irrawaddy Road, 
Singapore 329560 
Fax: +65 62546250 
Email: wong
an_seng@mha.gov.sg or mhaeedback@mha.gov.sg

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-61-2002
Countries : Singapore,
Issues : Administration of justice,