Singapore Denies Victimizing American Charged With Offenses
SINGAPORE (AP) _ Singapore denied charges that it is being vindictive by prosecuting a U.S. businessman whose son was accused of vandalizing cars.
Robert Freehill’s family says he is being targeted because officials were unable to prosecute his 17-year-old son, Stephen, in the vandalism case that led to the caning of Ohio teen-ager Michael Fay.
That case produced a furor in the United States over Singapore’s stern justice system.
One charge against Robert Freehill dates from an alleged 1992 incident. His wife, Grace, maintains the charges were fabricated.
Freehill’s prosecution ″has nothing to do with his son. ... It is simply law taking its course,″ A. Selvarajah, Singapore’s charge d’affaires in Washington, wrote in a letter published today in the government-controlled Straits Times.
Selvarajah said Mrs. Freehill hampered police investigations into the 1992 incident by refusing ″to cooperate with and make a statement to the police.″
Selvarajah wrote the letter in response to an Aug. 30 Los Angeles Times article on the case.
Freehill, 51, an executive with a U.S. aerospace company, was arrested Aug. 26 and charged with kicking the door of a car on Christmas Day 1992 and injuring a man in the vehicle. He also was accused of cursing at a police constable and some neighbors in May.
He was freed on $6,670 bail, but his passport was seized. If convicted, he could face a one-year jail term and a $670 fine. A court hearing was scheduled for Sept. 23.
Stephen Freehill, his mother and his sister, Kimberly, returned to the United States in June.
Fay was convicted of vandalizing cars and was flogged four times on May 5. Stephen Freehill was also accused, but charges against him were dropped.