International human rights NGO strongly condemns PM Lee’s defamation claim against Leong Sze Hian

The Front Line Defenders said that taking legal action against Leong Sze Hian was tantamount to silencing the human rights defender

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International human rights NGO, Front Line Defenders (FLD) has publicly condemned Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for initiating legal action against local blogger, Leong Sze Hian.

PM Lee filed a defamation claim against Mr Leong, for sharing on Facebook an article alleging that PM Lee played a part in laundering money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The article, which was not written by Leong, garnered 22 reactions, five comments and 18 shares.

FLD, an Ireland-based organisation, asserted that “the disproportionate legal action being taken against Leong Sze Hian for his Facebook post is a targeted attempt by the authorities to silence the human rights defender”.

In a statement on its website, FLD added that it “strongly condemns the proceedings brought against Leong Sze Hian which is one of many cases being brought against human rights defenders, including Jolovan Wham, in the country. Front Line Defenders recognises that these cases are part of an ongoing effort to clamp down on freedom of expression in Singapore”.

On Tuesday (12 Mar), the High Court struck out blogger Mr Leong’s counterclaim against PM Lee, due to his failure to disclose a “reasonable cause of action” in his counterclaim.