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(中英文版)我们的基本权利正在受到困扰 Our Rights Under Seige

我们的基本权利正在受到困扰

作者:张素兰

当我们的国家声称——新加坡共和国的宪法在这块土地上是“高于一切的大法”。

但是,据我所知,我们人民现有“基本自由的权利”,其中包括生存权利、自由权利、言论自由和集会自由权利,至今未尚未看到司法宣布,从《内部安全法令》(Internal Security Act)到《司法(保护)法令》(the Penal Code),有哪一些法律已经违反了我们的宪法?也没有人提出任何有关违宪的法律追诉。

我不认为会有任何公民、法人和其他组织可以作为民事诉讼的提诉人,对现存的法律提起违宪的诉讼。所有哪些属于违宪行为也没有获得我们的法院的裁决。警方在进行调查过程中时,没有一个具有实际法律知识的人能帮助哪些被召唤接受调查者幸免于调查过程中经历的创伤。最终哪些被召唤接受调查者将可能会面对法院对他们不公正的待遇。

我们的国家从1965年独立以来,特别是近年来,我们已经见证了国会通过了许多法律,国会扩大了赋予警方逮捕和调查受嫌疑人的权利。只要警方认为哪些受嫌疑人是“可能协助”进行有关案件的调查工作,警方都有权传召任何人。就我个人而言,这些法律条款是破坏我们国家的宪法,剥夺我们人民的保护权的。

警方只要接到某些个别人的投诉,他们就会开动整个国家的镇压机器开始进行调查工作。有些时候,官方媒体甚至被利用来传播和警告老百姓,告诉人民有关定向性的调查工作已经在进行中。这样一来,从而造成向老百姓灌输恐惧的思想。由于警方对于那些琐碎的投诉采取了“认真看待”的缘故,已经造成了爱好和平的人民受到骚扰和恐吓。我们的人民一直以来就鲜少行使应有的言论自由和集会自由的基本权利。

一般被传召到警察局“协助调查”者对会收到警方依据《刑事诉讼法》第211)项下发出的信件。警方发出的这封信是由几名警官在下班时间后负责送达给哪些他们视为“证人”的人。他们会要求这些证人在不合理的时间到警察局“协助调查”。

在现有的法令下,警方不仅仅是授权对哪些被传召者到警察局进行问话。在未取得庭令的情况下,警方同时获得授权可以拿走和扣押这些被传召者的私人财产。警方之所以拥有这么大的权利,那是因为在过去几十年里国会没有有效的反对党的情况下,国会授权给予的。这就导致几乎所有在调查中可能涉嫌触犯法律的事件都是属于“可能被逮捕的涉嫌犯罪者”。警方的调查行动是不受时间限制的。警方也可以无限期地扣押涉嫌者的个人财产。法令并不强制性地要求警方向被涉嫌者或者任何人告知有关的调查事件的进展情况。

这一切都取决于警方的任性和凭空想象。警方对案件的调查行动可以在接到一份投诉报告后就立即开始进行。除非有关被调查的事件需要提交到法院进行诉讼,投诉者需要到法院充当警方的证人,否则,投诉人的身世受到警方的绝对保护的。咱们就举结霜桥旧货环保商联合会会长许亚坤先生的例子来说明吧。

警方是在接到副总理善达曼办公室的投诉受到恐吓(指收到冥纸)后,半夜就到他家里进行搜查。在完全没有正当的理由下,许先生受到了恐吓和家里也被警方人员抄家。这次的抄家行动持续了整个小时。警方在抄家后,拿走了许先生的手机。这是令人感到遗憾。这仅仅就是一小撮人的喧嚷的结果。(见网址:《震惊:新加坡副总理收到恐吓信!》http://www.skygolf.net.cn/article/gj/20170602/329964.html

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许先生确实很“幸运”。警方人员后来发现他是错误骚扰的人。他们归还了许先生的手机。警方归还许先生时并没有向他做出任何的道歉。对于警方来说一切都实属“正常”情况。对于警方在进行调查事件时所采取这种高压手段的处事行为做造成的错误,警方内部并没有任何人受到开除或者斥责,也没有任何部长责备警方人员的错误行为。

警方人员半夜到许先生,错误地进行抄家、拿走手机和骚扰,为什么警方没有给予许先生任何的赔偿呢?明显地,警方完全不尊重我们国家的宪法赋予许先生基本的自由权利。

我对这起事件感到最为困扰的是,警方对这起琐碎的投诉所采取的行动的速度。当山穆根一再发出警告新加坡正在面对高风险的安全威胁,和我们的生活可能成为恐怖分子攻击的靶子时,他所管辖下的警方却在浪费时间和资源去调查一起既不骚扰公众、或者涉及我们国家的话和平与安全的投诉事件。

可以肯定的是,

这些年轻人绝对不是什么“恐怖分子”、或者他们在乘搭地铁时“欺骗”了新加坡地铁公司。他们并没有恐吓任何人、或者在列车车厢里骚扰其他乘客、或者对新加坡的安全造成威胁。为什么警方要选择对他们进行调查,而不是调查年轻人投诉有关1987年逮捕事件的受害者的真相?

就举几部法令为例,如在国会选举法令下的《公共秩序法》和2016年5月国会通过实施的《司法(保护)法令》,这些都是予以警方无限的权利。假设我们不提高警惕性,很快宪法赋予我们保证的所有基本自由权利将会完全被剥夺。现在是时候我们进行评估宪法赋予我们应有的权利了。我们是要通过依靠自己或者依靠我们的国会,以要求重新拥有已经失去这些基本权利,

为此,我呼吁警方停止对那些为1987年逮捕事件的受害者站出来申冤的年轻人进行调查行动和骚扰。我也再次向哪些为1987年逮捕事件而勇敢站出来的年轻人致以敬意。

我们,作为新加坡人现在必须要有勇气站出来反对警方进行不合理的调查行动。我们的年轻人并触犯任何的法律法规,他们纯粹就是在行使国家宪法赋予他们的言论自由和集会自由。今天可能是他们被警方传召“协助”调查,明天您或者我也可能会被警方传召“协助”调查。

 

Our Rights Under Seige –

by Teo Soh Lung

 

While the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore asserts that it is the “supreme law” of the land and that we, the people are endowed with “fundamental liberties” which includes the right to life, liberty, freedom of speech and assembly, I have yet to see a judicial pronouncement that any of our laws is in breach of our Constitution. From the Internal Security Act to the Penal Code, all claims (as far as I know) of unconstitutionality of laws have failed.

I do not think there are or will be many litigants who challenge an existing law as unconstitutional. Most unconstitutional acts do not reach our courts for determination. They take place at the investigation stage and no practical person who has been spared of the trauma he experienced, will take the unjust treatment he received to the courts.

Since our independence in 1965, and especially in recent years, we have witnessed the passing of too many laws that give the police wide powers to arrest and investigate people who they think are able “to assist” in their investigations. These laws in my view, undermines our Constitution and deprive us of its protection.

It takes just one complaint to the police for the entire oppressive machinery to commence work. Sometimes, the media is used to inform and warn the public of intended investigations so as to instill even more fear into the minds of the people. The reluctance of the police to ignore complaints of trivial matters have led to the harassment and intimidation of peaceful citizens who were merely exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.

Investigation usually begins with a letter from the police under section 21(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is hand delivered by a few police officers after office hours to an intended witness, requesting him to appear at the police station on an unreasonable day.

Under most existing laws, the police are not only empowered to interview the person who turns up at the police station, they are also empowered to seize properties and retain them for as long as they wish without an order from our courts. This enormous power is given to the police because parliament on our behalf (without an effective opposition for decades) had decreed that almost all offences under investigation are “arrestable offences”. There is no time frame for the police to conduct such investigation or to return seized properties. It is also not mandatory for the police to inform anyone of the outcome of an investigation.

Depending on the whims and fancies of the police, the investigation of cases can commence almost immediately upon receipt of a report to the police. The identity of the complainant is protected unless there is a trial and the complainant is called as a witness. Take the case of Mr Koh, Chairman of the Recycling Association. His home was raided at midnight following a complaint by someone from the deputy prime minister’s office. Mr Koh was intimidated and his home ransacked for no reason. The raid of more than an hour resulted in the seizure of his mobile phone. Sadly, there was little public outcry from members of the public.

Mr Koh was “lucky” in a way for the police subsequently discovered that they had harassed the wrong person. They returned his mobile phone without an apology and all was back to normal for the police. No one was dismissed or reprimanded for the high-handed manner in which the police conducted their investigation. No minister chided the police for their wrongdoing.

Why wasn’t Mr Koh compensated for the wrongful raid, seizure and harassment at midnight by the police? Clearly, the police had not respected his fundamental liberties guaranteed by our Constitution.

At the beginning of this month, a group of young people sat quietly in a tram, reading the book “1987 Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On”. One intolerant person lodged a police report. Quite immediately, the police started its investigation and called for witnesses.

What I am most disturbed about this whole affair is the speed at which the police attended to this trivial complaint. While Minister K Shanmugam keeps warning us of high level threats Singapore faces and our likelihood of being a soft target for real terrorists, his police force is wasting its time and resources investigating a matter that neither bothered the public or are of concern to the maintenance of peace and security in the country.

The young people had merely requested the police to investigate the injustices suffered by the victims in 1987. Why not investigate the case of the victims or disclose the outcome of their investigation into my complaint pertaining to ill treatment I was subjected to in 1987? For sure this group of young people are not terrorists. Neither did they cheat SMRT for their rides. They have not threatened anyone on the tram or disrupted the peace and security of Singapore. Why did the police choose to investigate them and not the complaints of the victims of 1987?

The Public Order Act, the Parliamentary Elections Act, the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016 just to name a few, give too much power to our police. If we are not vigilant, we will soon be deprived of all our fundamental liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. It is time we take stock of the rights we have lost and attempt to regain them with or without the help of our parliamentarians.

For now, I call upon the police to stop investigating and harassing the young people who stood up for the victims of 1987. I salute them for their courage.

We, the people must now have the courage to stand with them against the unjust investigation. They had merely exercised their constitutional right to free speech and assembly and had done no wrong. Today it may be them under investigation. Tomorrow it may be you or me.