Activist Jolovan Wham investigated by police for protesting outside State Courts without permit

Activist Jolovan Wham investigated by police for protesting outside State Courts without permit

Human rights activist Jolovan Wham arrives at the State Court in Singapore
Human rights activist Jolovan Wham arrives at the State Court in Singapore February 21, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Social worker and activist Jolovan Wham is being investigated for protesting outside State Courts without a valid permit, police said on Saturday (Mar 2).

Wham had posted a photo on Dec 13 on social media channels, which showed him standing outside the court complex while holding up a piece of paper that read: "Drop the charges against Terry Xu and Daniel De Costa."

The protest happened the same day Terry Xu, the editor of socio-political website The Online Citizen, and Daniel De Costa were charged for publishing an article that alleged corruption among the Singapore Government's highest officers. 

In response to Channel NewsAsia's queries, police said that Wham had written to the police earlier in November to apply for a permit to stage a protest outside the State Courts. His application was not approved. 

"The State Courts is gazetted as a Prohibited Area under the Public Order Act, with stricter security protocols," police said. 

"He was well aware that a police permit was required for such an event. Still, he went ahead to protest outside the State Courts on Dec 13, 2018."

Police also cited Wham's prior public order related offences, and said it reflected "a pattern of Wham's wilful disregard for Singapore's laws".

Wham was sentenced on Feb 21 for organising a public assembly without a permit. He was fined S$3,200 but chose to serve jail time for 16 days in default.  

READ: Jolovan Wham fined for organising public assembly without permit, chooses to go to jail instead

He was found guilty over a November 2016 event - titled Civil Disobedience and Social Movements - that featured a live speech by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong Chi-Fung. 

In 2017, Wham also organised a "silent protest" on an MRT train and pasted two A4-sized sheets on the window. In July that year he asked the public on Facebook to participate in a vigil outside Changi Prison Complex and proceeded to hold the event without applying for the requisite permit. 

Wham also refused to sign statements to the police, which is required by law.

"There are avenues for Singaporeans to express their views on issues that concern them. The Speakers’ Corner was set up in 2000 to allow Singaporeans to conduct public assemblies without the need for a permit, subject to certain conditions being met," police added.

Source: CNA/na(mi)

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