Gopalan Nair – bloglines update

The Gopalan Nair case is beginning to attract some attention.

SGpolitics.net is a good place to get updates. A 6 June update quotes a US Embassy official as saying:

‘The embassy continues to follow the case very closely. The United States consistently advocates freedom of expression, including the Internet.’ [Yeah right.]

A number of other Singapore-related blogs are also commenting quite frequently.

The States Times blog suggests that human rights have been abolished in the Singapore legal system.

Freshly minted Attorney-General Walter Woon had declared human rights is “all hyprocrisy and fanaticism,” and posited “that we should not confuse public law with politics, and that some people assume that their definition of human rights is the decision of the rest of humanity.”

Drop all the charges, freedom for political detainees in Singapore

Reporters sans frontieres is calling for the charges to be dropped against Gopalan and it’s getting some coverage in other blogs and (slowly) other news agencies.

“We urge the authorities to drop charges against Gopalan Nair, who has only exercised his right of free expression. This charge is improper and will add to the intimidation of bloggers and Internet users who express themselves about Singapore’s political life” (Reporters sans frontieres statement)

The Online Citizen looks like a reliable site. Posters use their names and the mission statement seems reasonable too.

TOC is a blog site which endeavours to reflect the views and opinions of ordinary Singaporeans. It is a platform which welcomes contributions from the man in the street, the average citizen who is concerned about issues facing our country. [Read TOC About Us page]

Gerald Giam on TOC wrote Judging the Judiciary:

The PAP leaders who have been bringing lawsuits against their political opponents all these years never cease to boast about the independence of our judiciary. Unfortunately, what they don’t seem to realise is that every frivolous lawsuit they launch only serves to chip away at ordinary Singaporeans’ confidence in the judiciary. At the end of the day, it is the court of public opinion that they have tried, but failed to convince. [Read Judging the Judiciary]

Teo Xuanwei has a story identifying Chai Ti Lik as Mr Golapan’s lawyer at TODAYonline.

Nair’s lawyer, Mr Chia Ti Lik, told the court that Nair — who became an American citizen in 2005 — “might have to leave Singapore for a short while” to settle his affairs back home.Mr Nair’s car has been racking up parking charges at the San Francisco Airport since he came here on May 25. The lease for his law firm in California is also due soon, said Mr Chia, an ex-WP lawyer.

Che Wai’s Random musings has a post on libel laws and democracy in Singapore today.

Singapore has perhaps the world’s strongest libel laws. The country’s leaders have clearly indicated to the public that libel, as they choose to define it from time to time, on the Internet will not be tolerated and that those they deem responsible will be severely punished.

The good, the bad and the ugly posts on “Laughable comments by Singapore’s Law Minister”.

Dear Mr Shanmugam, it is not the duty of citizens to blindly defend the country’s judiciary. When it comes to politically-loaded cases, I believe quite a sizeable number of Singaporeans hold the view the judiciary lacks independence and that a powerful few are more equal than others.

Mollymeek@Livejournal says s/he is perplexed that human rights do not seem to be a right in modern Singapore.

Maybe it’s just that politics cannot be political. Or, to put it more simply, maybe the idea is that we cannot go against the ruling party just because it doesn’t respect our rights. But no. I’m sure the A-G is not partisan. So you see how perplexed I am . . .
But perhaps the most fascinating of all the the theory that human rights cannot be seen as human rights. Yes, I know it’s one of those silly paradoxes, but you have to believe me.

I have also found this piece from the New York Times dated 30 May about the defamation case Gopalan was attempting to cover.

Channel News Asia is carrying Singapore government condemnation of outrageous slander against the nation’s judiciary.

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Law Minister, K Shanmugam, said it is the duty of all citizens to condemn attacks made on the country’s judiciary. He was responding to questions at a community event on Wednesday on the recent behaviour of Singapore’s opposition politicians, Chee Soon Juan and Chee Siok Chin, at the High Court.

Ed’s experience is carrying extracts from Golopan’s blog and some fetching images of him smiling. He looks quite sane, rational and well, nice. [credit image Ed’s Experience]

A serene Golapan Nair (credit Ed\'s Experience)

Singaporebloodypore is carrying a the Preface of a recent book about the “Janus-face” of justice in Singapore.

This book, however, is concerned with the other face of justice in Singapore: where these very same judges, sad to say, inpolitically-freighted cases have repeatedly demonstrated a singular facility at bending over backwards to render decisions favourable to the Singapore government and its leaders. [from the preface to Francis Seow’s latest book, Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary (Southeast Asia Studies Monograph Series]

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