13 July was the night we gathered outside Changi Prison for a candlelight vigil for Prabagaran Srivijayan, a convicted drug trafficker whose execution was imminent. This was not the first time people gathered for a vigil before an imminent execution. We were a small group of about 15 people, including members of Prabagaran’s family. It was important to us to be there with them and to support them through a very difficult time.
We complied with the police’s orders when they said we couldn’t have candles. When they said they had to confiscate the tea lights and photos of Praba, we complied. We were then told that it would be all right for us to stay, as long as we did not light any more candles. We did not light any more candles.
This vigil has now been deemed an illegal assembly. A group of us were visited by the police last Sunday and served letters summoning us for questioning. Now, we discover that we have been slapped with travel restrictions barring us from leaving Singapore until after we have been questioned. This was not communicated to us by the police officers who came to our homes, nor was it written in the letters we received.
According to the investigating officer, an offence under the Public Order Act is an arrestable offence. However, they have chosen not to arrest us (yet; he naturally couldn’t rule out this possibility), but “we have decided you all will not be allowed to leave [the] state.” He pointed out that if we had been arrested, we would be allowed bail, and the bail conditions would not allow us to leave the country.
I asked him, “So we’ve not been arrested, but we are still under the bail conditions?” He said yes.
(He also said that they will “make assessment” after we’ve given our statements, and confirmed that this means there’s a chance we still won’t be allowed to leave Singapore even after being questioned.)