The Singapore government released vocal opposition leader Dr Chee Soon Juan from prison on 16 December 2006, two weeks short of the five-week term meted out to him for speaking in public without a permit.
The secretary general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) had opted for jail rather than a fine of S$5,000 (approx. US$3,200). He has been released earlier for good behaviour.
Two others charged in the same case, party member Gandhi Ambalam and supporter Yap Keng Ho, also chose jail over the fines. Ambalam was released on 7 December after serving only 15 days of a three-week prison term. Yap was freed on 2 December, having served his full term of 10 days.
They were charged after speaking in a community hall on 22 April, in the run-up to the general election that was eventually won by the ruling People’s Action Party.
There are reportedly seven other such charges pending against Chee and Yap.
Chee is also being sued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father Lee Kuan Yew for allegedly defaming them in an article in SDP’s newsletter, and not in an interview with the “Far Eastern Economic Review” as reported earlier.