The Centre for Independent Journalism is shocked by the conviction of Singaporean activist Jolovan Wham for organizing a forum on “Civil disobedience and Social Movements”. Wham has been found guilty of illegal assembly, despite a constitutional guarantee of freedom of assembly.
According to one speaker from the event, Kirsten Han, the grounds for the conviction were that the meeting included a foreign speaker, Joshua Wong, who was present via Skype. The organisers pointed out that although Joshua was speaking, he would not be physically present at the forum, that the forum was indoors and that it was, according to local reports, an academic discussion.
Jolovan has further been convicted for refusing to sign a police statement, after being told that he would not be furnished with a copy.
CIJ urges the Singaporean government to repeal the need for permits for any peaceful assembly, to ensure that citizens’ fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are upheld. The right to assembly is meaningless if it means that a person organizing a forum held indoors can be sent to prison.
CIJ further stands in solidarity with Jolovan Wham.
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