Human Rights Defender and Anti-Death Penalty Advocate Kirsten Han being investigated for ‘illegal assembly’ about 7 weeks after ‘candle light vigil’ outside Changi Prison for Prabagaran Srivijiyan hours before he was hanged on 14/7/2017. Harassment?
Activist summoned over Singapore vigil for Prabagaran
Kirsten Han says she has been told to present herself for questioning after she attended a candlelight vigil for Prabagaran outside Changi Prison the night before he was executed.
PETALING JAYA: An activist and freelance journalist has been summoned over her participation in a candlelight vigil in Singapore for Malaysian S Prabagaran, who was hanged in the city state about two months ago.
Kirsten Han had attended the vigil outside Changi Prison on July 13, the night before Prabagaran was hanged.
In a Facebook post yesterday, she said the small group had put up photos of the 29-year-old and lit tea lights. About 15 minutes later, however, police officers arrived on the scene and told them they were not allowed to light candles or put up photos, and that the objects would have to be confiscated.
“We complied – we blew out the candles and handed them over (after a little while, because they were hot).
“We were then told that we could stay outside the prison as long as we didn’t light candles or set up any more photos,” she said.
On Sept 3, however, two police officers showed up at her house and handed her a letter saying that they were investigating an offence of “taking part in a public assembly without a permit”.
The letter also summoned Han to present herself for questioning as she “may be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case”.
Han said she was not able to make the time scheduled in the letter but was told by the officers that it would be possible to reschedule.
“I understand that it is the police’s duty to protect law and order and to uphold the laws of our country.
“But when a simple, non-violent, quiet vigil for a man about to be hanged by the state is deemed an illegal assembly worthy of a police investigation, perhaps it is time to think about whether we are striking the right balance between public order, freedom of assembly and compassion,” she said.
Prabagaran was convicted for drug trafficking in Singapore and hanged after the country’s Court of Appeal dismissed his application to stay his execution.
He was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint as he tried to enter the country.
However, he maintained his innocence, claiming that he did not own the car he drove and was not aware of the drugs being in it.
Earlier this year, he turned to the Malaysian courts to compel the government to start legal proceedings against Singapore before an international tribunal for denying him a fair trial.
On March 24, Prabagaran failed to obtain leave at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to compel the Malaysian government to start proceedings against Singapore.- FMT, 5/9/2017
Function 8: Stop harassment and intimidation of citizens participating in civil society activities
Local non-government organisation, Function 8 has issued a statement to condemn the police harassment of anti-death penalty activists who held a vigil outside Changi Prison on the night of 13 July 2017 for Prabagaran Srivijayan who was to be executed at dawn on 14 July 2017. Members of Prabagaran’s family were at the vigil, and anti-death penalty activists turned up to support the grieving family members.
Function 8 states that Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore guarantees the right of citizens to freedom of speech, expression and assembly.
“The act of issuing and having the police personally delivering letters which require the said activists to appear at police stations to assist in investigations, almost two months after the event, goes against the spirit of our Constitution and is a waste of Police resources. We call upon the Minister for Home Affairs to rescind the action of the police, to cease the investigation, and to stop the harassment and intimidation of citizens participating in civil society activities.” wrote the NGO. – Online Citizen, 4/9/2017