"I was thrown in jail and a mental institution and then deported from Singapore for not wearing a Covid-19 mask."

"I was thrown in jail and a mental institution and then deported from Singapore for not wearing a Covid-19 mask."
"I was thrown in jail and a mental institution and then deported from Singapore for not wearing a Covid-19 mask."

Don't like to wear masks? Benjamin Glynn too. But because he refused to wear a mask, disagreeing with Singapore's right to make them legally binding, he was treated like a terrorist.

Everything that happened to Benjamin Glynn turned his life upside down. There were brutal arrests, jail time and a stay in a psychiatric clinic, but he assures: "I would do it all again, I have no regrets."

Living in Singapore, the Briton and his wife decided to return home with their two children and booked their plane tickets for May 31. On the last day of avid runner Glynn, he went jogging with colleagues, after which he drank some booze. On the train home, a passenger videotaped him failing to wear a Covid mask - contrary to local regulations - and uploaded the footage to citizen journalism website Stomp.

Twenty-four hours later, the police knocked on his door, demanding that he report to the station. Glynn said: “I was happy to talk to them. I thought it would be just a conversation and I could talk to them on Monday, but they insisted that they should pick me up right then. I objected to this since it was already like this. late. But then the nightmare began."

Everything took a terrible turn, the police used truncheons, as a result of which an ambulance was called, as Glynn was bleeding from his knees, elbows and shoulders.

He spent the rest of the weekend in cells, which he described as "terrible." There was a concrete floor with no bedding and a constant light. From fatigue, he began hallucinations, after which he was released on bail.

The rest of the family flew to the UK, but he had to stay until the scheduled trial date of 23 July. Then it got worse. He explained: "On July 19, five of them [the police] broke into my room. I hid in the bathroom and wrote it down on my phone. They gave me no choice and dragged me outside."

It was at this moment that everything became "quite gloomy". The bail was canceled, and Glynn ended up in concrete police cells again and then transferred to Changi Prison.

He continued, “I’m probably the only person in the history of Singapore who was happy to be in prison. I thought it couldn't get any worse. But I still didn’t have a bed, it was a thin bamboo mat on the floor. and a prickly blanket."

Throughout all of this, Glynn was honest - he admitted that he did not wear a mask on the train. But now he was charged with four charges: two for not wearing a mask, one for disturbing public order, and one for threatening the police.

He said: "I admitted all the time that I did not wear a mask. My defense was based on the law and on who has jurisdiction over whom. Is this a criminal matter or is it a violation of civil law?"

He agrees that employers have a legal right to require their employees to wear masks, but disagrees that the state can legally make such demands.

Several of his comments in court attracted attention, mistakenly giving the impression that he did not take his predicament seriously. And this despite the fact that he came to some meetings in handcuffs, ankle bracelets and chained to a chair.

Glynn added: “I knew the law well and what was a crime and what was not. But I just assumed that since Singapore was a British colony and the British created their legal system, they would respect common law. But it turned out that they absolutely do not recognize civil rights."

Glynn asked the judge three times at one hearing to name which law states that people should wear masks, which angered the authorities, and he was sent to the Institute of Mental Health for a psychiatric examination.

It was even tougher than Changi prison, where at least he could read and have personal belongings.

Glynn said: "It was a terrible cell with a small bars, no windows, and I was not allowed anything - no toilet paper, no books, no toothbrush. I looked at the wall in the isolation ward for two weeks, where there are very scary people with mental problems." …

"This is what they do to people who challenge their legal system and government, but it's not just Singapore - I'm sure people in other countries are also blamed for mental health problems if they refuse to comply with Covid rules."

Throughout the process, the judiciary offered him plea deals. But Glynn refused them, explaining: "Justice does not work like that, you cannot condemn a person to prison before the trial and persuade him to give up his legal rights."

As a result, he was found guilty on all charges, but had served enough time, so he was deported a few days later. And even that became a saga, because when he was brought to the gate in shackles, KLM, from which Glynn bought his original ticket, refused to take it. Singapore Airlines did the same, but the British High Commission said he could fly on British Airways.

The nightmare ended when the plane's wheels touched the ground at Heathrow, but Glynn believes he is being portrayed unfairly, especially given that the secret video was caused by helping an elderly gentleman get on a train while he was breathing hard in his mask. After he helped the man to take the place, other people approached Glynn with the question that he himself did not wear a mask. “In my opinion, I was treated like some kind of terrorist and criminal,” he said.

While he would not want to survive this incident, Glynn believes that he has shown more serious problems. He said: “It was unfortunate, but I stood up for my rights. I don’t believe in wearing masks. I defended my right not to wear a mask, which seems to be recognized in all major countries except Singapore. My case has highlighted a lot of injustice in legal system of Singapore ".

And while he claims to have been "psychologically tortured," he is keen to put that in the past, saying, "I'm not some crazy freedom fighter who wants to neglect his family or career in order to keep doing it."

Glynn has been criticized in some quarters, but has also received numerous messages of support. What did he learn from this strange experience?

“I think he showed that Singapore is unsafe and that the police do not respect or respect human rights,” he says.

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