So today as I was going across the Woodlands Checkpoint, my passport for the first time in my life, failed to be processed and the immigration officer had to bring me to the office at the sixth floor.
At the office, I spoke with Jason Tan — the inspector who had sent letters to all those who were present at the 13 July vigil for Prabagaran Srivijayan who was to be executed on the morning of 14 July — via phone and he asked if I wanted to leave the country.
See video of the event here – https://www.facebook.com/theonlinecitizen/videos/10155744438306383/
I said, “Yes, just for a few hours.” He then said sorry and stated that I cannot leave the country because I have yet complete my interview with the police.
So in the letter that was sent two months after the event has taken place, it stated that an investigation is being conducted into an offence of Taking Part in a Public Assembly without a Permit under Section 16(2)(a) of the Public Order Act, Chapter 257A and that I “may be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case”.
The letter also states that the officer had invoked the powers bestowed upon him via the virtue of Section 21(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code to compel me to turn up at the station and I read the section in full,
“Power to require attendance of witnesses. 21(1) In conducting an investigation under this Part, a police officer may issue a written order requiring anyone within the limits of Singapore, who appears to be acquainted with any of the facts and circumstances of the case, to attend before him, and that person must attend as required.”
Nowhere in the letter did it state that I was not allowed to leave the country and I have already scheduled an interview with the officer at 11am on Thursday.
When the officer was asked what law or regulation am I being prevented from leaving the country, he said that I will only be allowed to leave after I have taken my statement. And he can take my statement today and then I can travel.
It is only after insisting that he explain the reason why I am prevented from leaving even for a few hours, that he revealed I am being investigated for taking part in an illegal public assembly — An “illegal public assembly” to grieve over an individual who was put to death under the state law, and insisted that he is innocent till the point he was hanged at the gallows. It was also an “illegal public assembly” where the Police officers turned up at the scene and said it was ok to gather so long there is no candles placed.
So I took up the offer and asked him to come over to the immigration checkpoint for my statement to be taken. However, after checking with someone, he requested me to go over to Bedok Police Station to be interviewed when I am at Woodlands Checkpoint.
I then asked if it is certain that I can travel once I have my statement taken, it was then where he said that it will still be up to the Police to decide whether or not I can travel after the statement has been taken.
So the thing is here, even if I am being investigated for an “illegal public assembly” which the Police said it was ok at the time they turned up, what powers does the Police possess to restrict my travel without any specific mention in the law? If travel restriction is being imposed, why is it not indicated anywhere in the letter to me?
If this is not harassment, I don’t know what else can be considered as one.
And it is only upon reading that I realised Singapore did not ratify the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” which guarantees the right of movement. In fact, Singapore is one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the number of UN human rights bills ratified, putting the country the same level of Myanmar and worse than China.