Police to charge activist Jolovan Wham in court for multiple offences of organising public assemblies without permit

Civil rights activist Jolovan Wham, 37, was charged in court on Nov 29 for organising public assemblies without a police permit and refusing to sign his statements on multiple occasions.

In a statement on Nov 28, the police said that Wham had created a Facebook event on July 13, asking the public to participate in a "vigil"  outside Changi Prison Complex (CPC).

Despite stating in the post that he had not sought a permit for the event, he went on to hold the "vigil".

The police said that 17 people, including Wham, were investigated for their various roles in organising and participating in the illegal public assembly outside the prison.

According to The Straits Times, the vigil was for 29-year-old Malaysian Prabagaran Srivijayan, who was convicted of importing 22.24g of heroin into Singapore and hung at dawn on July 14.

Investigations into the other 16 people, which include sociopolitical website editor Terry Xu and freelance journalist Kirsten Han, are ongoing.

The police added that this was not the first time that Wham had organised or participated in illegal public assemblies.

On Jun 13, he organised a "silent protest" on an MRT train with eight other people without a police permit.

The group was protesting against the detention of 22 people, accused of a Marxist Conspiracy, under the Internal Security Act (ISA) 30 years ago. Wham then posted pictures of it on Facebook.

Police investigations against the remaining eight people are still ongoing.

Wham had also pasted two A4-sheets on an MRT train panel, committing an offence of vandalism.

On Nov 26, 2016, Wham organised an indoor public assembly featuring a foreign speaker, which required a police permit.

The police had advised him that a police permit was required but Wham proceeded to hold the event without one, committing an offence of organising a public assembly without a police permit under the Public Order Act.

The police said that during police investigations into these offences, Wham also refused to sign his statement on multiple occasions when required to.

"Wham is recalcitrant and has repeatedly shown blatant disregard for the law, especially with regard to organising or participating in illegal public assemblies," the police said.

The police reiterated it is a criminal offence under the Public Order Act to organise or participate in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore.

"The Speakers’ Corner, on the other hand, is an established space for Singaporeans to express their views on issues with which they are concerned. Singapore citizens can organise public assemblies at the Speaker’s Corner in accordance with the rules," the police said.

Those found guilty of organising a public assembly without a police permit can be fined up to $5,000.

Repeat offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or face a combination of the punishments.