Singapore: Practitioners Decide to Defend Themselves - Trial Postponed

On August 7th, 2006, a pre-trial meeting was held again for the cases in which police charged Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore. Because of doubts of the justness of Singapore’s judicial system and high cost of legal fees, the practitioners decided to defend themselves.

Around the time that Li Lanqing, former head of CCP’s 610 Office, visited Singapore in July, a series of incidents against Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore occurred, such as attempting to dispel practitioners and restricting practitioners’ truth-clarification activities. Singapore police charged practitioners twice. [The 610 Office is a gestapo-like organisation specifically set up to 'deal' with Falun Gong]

Nine practitioners distributing flyers last October were charged with "assembly without permit".

Three practitioners protesting the persecution in front of the Chinese Embassy on July 20th, 2006 were charged with "harassment by displaying insulting writings - with common intention".

The pre-trial meeting on July 28th decided the trial date for the cases, but there were further changes after that. The court held another pre-trial meeting on August 7th. The "assembly without permit" case was split into two cases. Five of the nine practitioners will appear on court from September 25th to 29th. The trial of the other four practitioners is postponed until October. No final date has been set yet.

The three practitioners in the "harassment by displaying insulting writings - with common intention" case will appear on court as scheduled, August 28th to September 1st.

From forced self-defense to self-defense by choice

At the pre-trial meeting on July 28th, the defense counsel gave up defending the eight practitioners because the judge did not allow enough time for the counsel to prepare. Later the judge changed his mind and proposed more time for counsel to prepare. The practitioners involved had by then decided to defend themselves in court.

Why did the practitioners change their minds? They said they made the decision after careful thought.

One of the defendants, Ms. Huang Chay Hua said that she was charged in the 2004 beach park case. Five of them practised the exercises and two others distributed flyers. There was no "assembly," but the police charged them with "assembly without permit". Though she spent 80,000 Singapore dollars to recruit an attorney and put long time into a defense, the judge at the trial made an unfair ruling without sufficient evidence. Later, the grand judge emphasised that "Singapore is a small country" and cannot influence large countries and rejected the appeal. The unfair ruling and the highest fine were not changed. "I was very disappointed." Ms. Huang said.

Another practitioner in the case, Dr. Wang Yuyi, insisted on not having a lawyer from the beginning. She said, "It is not the first time the Singapore government has charged us. We recruited lawyers the previous two times and spent a lot of effort in the 2004 case, but the result was not in our favour. The point is that it has nothing to do with whether we had a permit or not. The police who charged us are not the ones who made the decisions. The key person is behind the scene. In such a case, what can you do with even the best lawyers?"

Defendant You Xin said that the legal fees are simply daunting. Considering Singapore’s judicial system and the government manipulation of the lawsuit, having a lawyer has no effect on the final outcome of the case. "Since the persecution of Falun Gong began, Singaporean media have carried CCP news reports slandering Falun Gong. Many people misunderstand Falun Gong. I think it is more meaningful to spend money on telling more local people about the CCP’s live organ removal from Falun Gong practitioners. Many people don’t know the facts because Singapore media is under government control."

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