Group condemns Singapore over conviction of activist for ‘illegal assembly’

Jolovan Wham was found guilty by a Singapore court for the offence of organising an ‘illegal assembly’ on Sin Ming Lane. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: A rights group has condemned the Singaporean government after a court yesterday convicted an activist for the charge of organising a public assembly without permission from the authorities.

Civicus, a global alliance headquartered in South Africa and made up of 4,000 members in 175 countries, said the conviction of Jolovan Wham was politically-motivated, adding that he had only organised peaceful assembly which was within his right as a citizen.

“The sentencing of Wham on charges violating his fundamental rights is emblematic of the lengths to which the Singaporean authorities are willing to go to silence and punish peaceful dissent,” Josef Benedict of Civicus said in a statement to FMT.

Wham was slapped with S$3,200 (RM9,660) fine or 16 days in jail for organising the Civil Disobedience and Social Movements event on Sin Ming Lane.

Benedict, saying Wham’s conviction should be quashed, said Singaporean rights activists face harassment, investigation and “unfounded charges” for organising peaceful gatherings.

“His criminal punishment is clearly meant to deter others in the country from sharing differing views or criticising the government,” he added.