Singapore is not model of justiceSo the Singapore...

the Forum

May 26, 1994

Singapore is not model of justice

So the Singapore authorities have cut a deal with young Stephen P. Freehill of Chicago on the vandalism charges that resulted in the caning of Michael Fay. How interesting.

Whereas Fay is out more than $2,000 in fines, in prison for at least one more month (with family visits allowed only twice a month) and suffering the effects of four lashes with a wet cane, Freehill gets off with a fine of a little over $500.

Earlier this month, Singapore's senior minister, Lee Kuan Yew, told Time magazine representatives that Singapore would lose its moral authority and its right to govern if it didn't cane young Fay.

The Singaporean then accused American society of having gone fundamentally wrong.

Fay, who confessed after a nine-day jail stay to spray-painting two cars, later repudiated his confession claiming that he was intimidated by his jailers.

American consular officials found young Fay's claim credible in view of Singapore's pattern of disregarding individual rights in the interests of maintaining law and order.

Nevertheless, despite the lack of hard evidence against Fay and his claims of coercion, "moral authority" won out over doubts regarding the American teen-ager's guilt.

In announcing the plea bargain regarding young Freehill, Singapore police said that the testimony of those already convicted of vandalism might not be reliable, since they would have "nothing to gain" by testifying against him.

This seems to be a veiled way of admitting that Singapore does in fact resort to strong-arm tactics to extract confessions from suspects.

And that old hypocrite, Lee Kuan Yew, has the nerve to lecture us on American criminal justice.

At least we make some attempt to make sure that suspects are guilty before we punish them.

Singapore's street may be cleaner than American streets, but their criminal justice system seems to be a lot dirtier.

Isobel V. Morin


Hate speech

Re Howard University President Franklyn G. Jenifer's article "Hate speech is still free speech"(May 16): Hatemongers are at liberty to spew their pernicious filth all over the country. But for a university to grant them a forum, putting an academic imprimatur on such explosive garbage, is unconscionable.

A university has no obligation whatsoever to accommodate any and all comers. Whatever happened to academic responsibility, judgment and standards of scholarship?

Hatemongering is a flagrant, cynical abuse of free speech, subverting the very purpose of free speech. By intimidation, by whipping passions to fever pitch, it serves to inhibit the exercise of reason, promoting the very intolerance which chills free thought and free expression.

This is precisely what was demonstrated at Howard University when Jewish historian David Brion Davis became wary of delivering his scheduled speech.

What kind of a hearing would he have been given in an atmosphere where masses of students had wildly applauded vicious anti-Semitic harangues?

If Howard's president really means what he says, "It is better to allow the expression of hateful views in the light of day," why has he not yet extended invitations to the Ku Klux Klan. the neo-Nazis, the white supremacists to exercise their free speech rights inside the hallowed halls of Howard University?

Lynch mobs were nurtured on hatred. In our own "enlightened" age, gas chambers, crematoriums and mountains of twisted human cadavers were the sequels to a regime swept to power on tirades of hatred. Hate speech prepared the way as the indispensable prelude. There was a direct line from hate speech to the death camps.

Rea Knisbacher


Dr. Walker

Today, Union Memorial Hospital will officially dedicate its new state of the art Oncology Center under the direction of Dr. Stanley D. Walker.

As a patient of Dr. Walker's for the past six years in Hartford, Conn., I want to tell all residents of the Baltimore area how lucky they are to have this, warm, compassionate and knowledgeable doctor at Union Memorial as its director and chief of hematology-oncology.

I now travel six hours each way to see Dr. Walker several times a year and will continue to do so as long as I am able.

Ronni Singer

West Hartford, Conn.

Jackie's Privacy

The article on Page 1 about the death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stated:

"The woman who craved privacy . . . died Thursday night with a cluster of TV vans, satellite dishes and cameras parked outside her Fifth Avenue apartment building . . ."

Where is the respect for (well-known) persons who wish to die in the privacy of their own homes?

The scene of the people gathered gives the impression that each wants to be the first person to get the news that the person has died, with no consideration for the wishes of the person or their families who are standing by.

There must be an end to this practice.

Margaret E. Beatty


Justice and capital punishment

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.