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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 6 April 10, 1975

Dear Salient..

page break

Dear Salient...

Dear Sir,

I hope you can print this news item which is extracted from The Age of Melbourne dated 25 February 1975.

Mr Frank Galbally is right to point out that support from international organisations and croups is essentia) for the release of Mr Tan Wah Piow, President of the University of Singapore Students' Union.

And I think Salient is equally in the right direction to combat, I quote from Mr Galbally, the "political persecution initiated by a reactionary and extremely totalitarian regime', i.e. Singapore as well as Malaysian government. Indeed, Salients Malaysian Special is a good start.

Keep it up!

Yours sincerely

Justice Now

Galbally Seeks Help for Gaoled Student

Melbourne barrister Mr Frank Galbally has launched a personal campaign to save a Singaporean student leader from one year's gaol.

Tan Wah Piow, 23, the president of the University of Singapore Students' Union, was sentenced to one year's gaol on Saturday after being found guilty of rioting charges.

But Mr Galbally is hoping to arouse enough support from the international and Australian human rights and legal organisations to guarantee a successful High Court challenge to the sentence.

Mr Galbally flew to Singapore in December to observe a week of Tan's 45 day trial.

Yesterday he described the trial as 'political persecution initiated by a reactionary and extremely totalitarian regime.'

Mr Galbally has sent a report of the trial and the plight of Singaporean lawyers to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Will-see).

He has also sent the report to the Law Institute of Victoria, the law Council of Australia, Melbourne and London branches of the international human rights organisation Amnesty International and the Hong Kong branch of the International Commission of Jurists.

Mr Galbally has asked Senator Willasee and each organisation to investigate his report and then protest to the Singapore government.

He said lawyers he spoke to in Singapore agreed that Tan's trial has been a 'political frame-up.'

'Tan was never given a fair trial.' Mr Galbally said, 'He was rail-roaded into the trial before he had obtained legal representation and any reasonable chance of conferring with his witnesses.

'It was not until he was half way through his own evidence in his defence that two of his vital witnesses were brought back from Malaysia to where they had been deported just before the trial began.

'This was a blatant denial of the accused's right to free access to his witnesses.'

'He was also constantly brow-beaten by the judge and was subjected to unreasonable cross-examination.

'He was not allowed to ask ordinary reasonable questions to the prosection witnesses.

For instance, he asked one of the key prosecution witnesses - a Member of Parliament called Phey - if he had a criminal record, This question was disallowed as irrelevant.'

Mr Galbally said that Tan later tried to argue that if Phey had a criminal record his credibility was questionable. He said he agreed with Tan that the question, was 'highly relevant.'

Mr Galbally said he had asked Senator Willasee and the organisations to which he had sent his report 'to investigate the atmosphere of fear and of political action against them under which Singaporean lawyers have to work.'

According to a joint statement released yesterday by Mr Galbally and the president of the Association of Young Lawyers (Mr Francis Gurry) Singaporean lawyers 'are striving to do their duty to the community under threatening clouds of political interference and persecution.'

Cartoon strip of movie being filmed

Why are They Running?

Dear Bruce,

We have learnt a lot from Salient over the past few years. We have learnt of the long struggle of the Vietnamese, after centuries of over lordship by the Chinese, then the French and Japanese and finally by the Americans. We have learnt in your articles on guerilla warfare that guerillas can only survive if they have the support of the people; in other words, that it is only American backing, plus the schemes of a power-hungry clique, which keeps the corrupt Thieu regime in power over the hapless South Vietnamese.

I should like to learn one more thing from the Salient savants. Now that the people of South Vietnam are at last being liberated by the guerillas they have been succouring for so many years - why, for the love of Ho Chi Minh, are they running away? Or are the pictures and films we are seeing lately merely Warner Bros extras with taped-up eyes?


(I'm glad to see you've taken such an interest in Salient over the last few years. I'm sure that being such a thorough reader you might have noticed that I have, in fact, been editor since the fourth issue this year. I cannot answer for someone else's decisions. However, I will try to answer your point about refugees. If you would refer to the story on the Hue 'massacres', the article from the International Herald- Tribune indicates that the refugees are not fleeing in fear of the PRC. In fact it implies fear of Thieu bombs and shellings, as well as fear of being caught in a cross-fire was predominant. Also reports of Thieu soldiers forcing people to abandon their homes and join in the retreat implies also that your reasoning is not correct. And for those who flee the PR($ because of fear isn't this understandable given the Thieu propaganda machine?

- Ed.)