From concrete floor to celebrity police escort in five-and-a-half weeks

By Alan Shadrake

I began the six weeks prison sentence on June 1. Because I couldn’t pay the fine, another two weeks were added.  With remission for good behaviour this would mean five and a half weeks.  I had been ordered to surrender to the sheriff at the Supreme Court at 9 a.m. and was quite looking forward to the experience as I defiantly told a Straits Times reporter who turned up mysteriously at a lively pre-jail party at The Old Brown Shoe, a British pub on Bukit Timah Road the night before.  The words that headlined the report announced that I was going to have a ‘ball’ in Changi Prison. Despite having a slight hangover, I was awake early and arrived at the sheriff’s office dead on time.

My lawyer M. Ravi came with me and a few moments later I was being handcuffed and manacled, then locked in a tiny cell inside a police van which sped off to Changi Prison.  I always wondered why such stringent security precautions were taken wherever I went each time I was in police hands.   The answer was always ‘standard procedure’ and that everyone was treated the same way – murderers, drug traffickers, robbers, gangsters and terrorists.  During the journey, being shackled and handcuffed with my hands behind my back and kept in such tight confinement, I asked the guards who would save me if we were involved in an accident, and the van turned over, bursting into flames?   The response was a few chuckles from the other side of the cell.

At Changi Prison I was taken to an ‘admittance’ room, this time surrounded by about six prison officers.  I was the only prisoner being admitted at that moment. I was told later that this was for ‘security’ reasons as the prison authorities were trying to keep my presence there a complete secret. I became known as the VIP – a Very Important Prisoner!  My holdall which contained spare clothes and three books – the maximum permitted – with provocative titles like 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Fahrenheit 541 by Ray Bradbury – were returned to me later in my cell.  Books of a political nature are normally banned but it seemed whoever approved them had no idea what they were about.   While still in the ‘admittance’ room I was ordered to undress for a strip search, then given a pair of black shorts, a white t-shirt and a pair of painful, plastic  sandals which soon caused sores between my toes!

My belongings were listed and photographed and put in plastic bags which I had to sign as all being present and correct.  Next I was photographed and finger-printed.   Moments later, four guards – two in front and two behind – plus a senior officer were escorting me along interminable corridors, past dozens of cells which were carefully curtained off until I reached Cell No. 504.  Inside were two other prisoners, both Chinese, one in his late twenties, the other late thirties, and both doing time for ‘white collar’ crimes, they told me after we were introduced.  One of them, ‘Adam’, whose sentence had begun a few days earlier, looked amazed as he saw me come in.  ‘I can’t believe it’s you,’ he exclaimed. ‘I’ve been following your case and didn’t dream we would be sharing the same cell!’  He had recognized me from my photos in the Straits Times, Today and television footage taken outside the Supreme Court during my endless appearances in the dock. Adam was so excited he couldn’t stop talking about his ‘luck’ of being locked up with me!  He said he would tell his wife on her next visit and ask her to tell the rest of his family. So much for keeping my presence in Changi a secret. Adam had been jailed for smuggling French and British liquor without paying the import duty; a big syndicate was involved too. My other cell-mate, Joseph, had become notorious as the first dealer to be caught stealing from one of Singapore’s recently opened casinos.  In his case it was $44,000 in cash from his table.

One of the guards accompanying me gave me a large plastic box containing a bar of soap, a tube of toothpaste, a small towel and two thin blankets – one to lie on, the other to roll up to make a ‘pillow’. The cell measured 9ft x 16ft with a shower and toilet half-hidden by a 4ft high privacy wall at the far end opposite the heavy, steel door which had a ten inch square window and a small door close to the floor through which our food was passed.

As part of the ‘introduction’ to prison life, we were locked up for five full days without the chance of exercise of any kind.  As always , this was ‘standard procedure’! But worse, sleeping or resting on the hard concrete floor soon began to have a serious effect on my health.  I’d had problems with a slipped disc ten years ago but having kept this condition so well under control with special back-strengthening exercises in the gym, advice from a physiotherapist and long distance walking, I had completely forgotten about it.  But after only 24 hours on the hard floor, unable to sleep, the pains down my back, joints and legs returned with a vengeance.   By the second day, I found myself having to crawl up the wall for support and then stand for several minutes to get my balance.  The pain was almost unbearable.  My feet were always numb as though I was standing on soft cushions.  Adam and Joseph would stand close by ready to support me if I looked like I was about to fall. I learned later they had been told to watch out for me and to press an alarm bell if anything alarming happened to me.

I told the prison guards and the two prison doctors about these latest threats to my health.  One of the doctors actually agreed that if the condition worsened, I could end up paralysed and incontinent!  ‘You will be ok, lah,’ he would also add whenever I complained that I might end up in a wheelchair.  When I demanded a mattress they would all simply reply:  ‘This is prison.  If you get a mattress, everyone will want one.’ I said ‘Well, don’t tell them!’   When one of the doctors said this a second time, I said:  ‘Well in any civilised country, prisons are always provided with bunks and mattresses for long or short term prisoners – I thought Singapore boasts of being a civilised country bar none?’  After two weeks of virtually sleepless nights – and days – my energy seemed to be draining from me by the hour. When we were allowed out for an hour’s exercise – still within an enclosed space without fresh air – I was so sapped I could hardly do any meaningful exercise at all.   I also put this down also to the poor food: four slices of white bread and a mug of brownish liquid, supposedly tea or coffee, for breakfast; over-cooked cabbage, a huge portion of white rice and a small piece of chicken or fish for lunch and dinner.  We were also given an apple, orange or banana on alternate days, but overall the diet had no nutritional value as far as I was concerned.  I told the doctors that the daily diet was a perfect recipe for diabetes!  And when finally – after 21 days – they discovered through blood tests that the potassium level in my blood had reached alarmingly low levels, threatening a heart attack, their spin was that this was caused by the prescription drugs I had been taking for ten years. These were the same drugs I had been put on under the close supervision of one of Singapore’s top cardiologists, Dr. Peter Yan at Gleneagles Hospital, without any problems.

Finally, on Day 21 of my incarceration, they were forced to take my health problems seriously.  I was suddenly summoned to the clinic where one of the doctors, looking extremely worried, said:  ‘An ambulance is waiting outside…you are going to Changi General Hospital‘s emergency ward now.’  Half an hour later I was wheeled – handcuffed and shackled again – into the emergency ward, put on potassium and saline drips for several days, then confined in a ward specially designed for prison inmates.  Security in Ward 34 on the fourth floor was even more severe despite my condition.  This was on account that we would be taken care of by young female nurses.  My right leg was chained to the bed night and day – no doubt to prevent me from chasing any of these pretty young things around the ward.  Each time I had to go to the toilet or shower, I was handcuffed, unchained from the bed, and escorted by two guards there and back, then chained to the bed again.  While using the WC or taking a shower, my left arm was also chained to a post between the two units.  I was told that these severe precautions were not just because we were being nursed by young nymphs but because of the embarrassing escape of alleged Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist leader Mas Selamat Kastari a few years back.  Mas Selamat apparently escaped through a toilet window when he went for a pee without an escort or any kind of restraints.  So now I am carefully guarded by auxiliary police while in the ward and watched by three more from an observation room via CCTV cameras everywhere – even in the toilet and shower room!

After eight days with a special diet of highly nutritious food and being monitored round the clock, I was told by specialist doctors that I would be returned to Changi Prison.  The thought of returning to the hard cell again was an alarming prospect.  The pains in my back had not entirely subsided and if I was to suffer in that way again, I knew they would get much worse.   So I made it clear that if this happened I would very likely not be able to walk upon my release scheduled for July 9 – my early release date.  Should this result, I told them, I would very likely arrive at Heathrow Airport in a wheelchair, with the warning:  That would not make pretty photos for the international media and my family who would be there to greet me!  My warning of yet another public relations disaster for Singapore in my case seemed to have some effect, proving, perhaps, that there is some grey matter somewhere in this very strange country.

When I was delivered back at Changi Prison, instead of returning to familiar surroundings, I was immediately taken to the prison clinic – still handcuffed and shackled in a wheelchair until someone noticed this and ordered the restraints to be removed.  As I was about to be freed I said loudly:  ‘Be careful!  I’m a very dangerous man!’  This drew some embarrassed laughter but not sufficient to show that these people have a sense of humour.   After the routine strip search I was warded with four other prisoners recovering from various medical problems.  One was blind, one was crippled with a serious spinal injury, the left arm of the third hung limply by his side and the fourth suffering from kidney failure.  All were drug users or traffickers serving sentences ranging from 7.5 years to 26 years, the latter for serial drug trafficking who missed hanging by a whisker, I was told.

This time the food was slightly better than the hard cell diet but more importantly, as in Changi General Hospital, I had a comfortable bed to sleep on.  Although the pains in my back, legs and feet persisted, they did not get worse and I was continuing to regain my strength. I was also the happiest prisoner there having merely 9 days more to serve.  But why they put me under such duress in the first place will always remain a mystery to me.  Perhaps it was my telling the Straits Times reporter who turned up at my pre-jail party that I would have ‘a ball’ in Changi Prison – a statement that might have prompted Lee Kuan Yew, had he read the report, to make sure that I did not!

My release on the morning of July 9 was organised like a top security operation.  First breakfast, a visit from the doctor and a male nurse followed.  I was given my daily dose of medicines to deal with my heart problems and other issues.

About 7.30 a.m. I was taken to the clinic to be weighed and examined for ‘bruises, cuts or injuries’ I was told.  From the moment I left Ward 8, I was surrounded by guards and two medical staff.  A few moments later I was given my own clothes and after another strip search allowed to put them on.  My other belongings were handed to me systematically with each item checked and signed for.

The prison guards still standing by, four officials from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority arrived to take custody of me.  The chief in this group had my precious passport which had been taken from me almost twelve months earlier when I was arrested in a dawn raid on my hotel just after the book launch.  But the room was getting more and more crowded until the goodbyes and smiles began.  They were glad to get rid of me – and I felt exactly the same.  I was about to be free at last!  But not so fast!  There was a little more formality to attend to.  The immigration officials wanted to take not just my fingerprints but my whole handprint.  While doing this I was told that I was being deported and that if I ever returned using a false passport or any other way, I could face a jail sentence of up to three years.  However, I could ask for permission to re-enter Singapore after twelve months.  No chance of my doing that and I don’t think you would want me to, I told them amid laughter.

Soon I was officially handed over to Immigration, put in a van surrounded by four officers, and driven to Changi Airport just a few kilometres away.  This time the van was escorted by two police cars one leading and one behind.  At the airport instead of going through the normal checkpoint I was taken directly to the tarmac where an Airbus 380 was waiting.  Again the area was surrounded by airport police, immigration officials, and men and women in auxiliary uniforms all talking on mobile phones and walkie-talkies. I counted at least 30 in all.  It certainly made me feel like the celebrity that I was on my arrest a year earlier – or the VIP my cellmate, Adam, used to call me:  A Very Important Prisoner!

The van I was in, still with the police escort, was then driven to the rear of the Airbus.  I was then escorted out, my hand luggage being carried by others, and placed on a lift which took me to the rear entrance, led to my seat and introduced to the two Singapore Airlines hostesses who would take care of me on the journey.  Fourteen hours or so later, we landed at Heathrow Airport – home at last!  I often thought at times during the year since my arrest that I was somehow destined to die in Singapore. But once the A380 Airbus was in the air and flying quickly away from Changi Prison, I knew I had finally ‘escaped’ from Disneyland, its officious police and jailors, and its barbaric, unforgiving gallows.

Alan Shadrake is the author of Once a jolly hangman, dissecting Singapore’s use of capital punishment, throwing up questions about the independence of our judiciary. For his pains, he was charged with contempt of court, found guilty (of course) and sentenced to six week’s imprisonment and a fine of S$20,000. After failing at appeal (of course, again) he served his sentence 1 June to 9 July 2011.

38 Responses to “From concrete floor to celebrity police escort in five-and-a-half weeks”


  1. 1 Thank you Alan 2 August 2011 at 00:17

    Thank you Alan Shadrake for his elaborate encounters. Such HARD evidence once again proved why his book is so popular and a sought after read by many people who wanted to know the truth behind Singapore systems. Now I wonder, does TT Durai or Ming yi received such celebrity treatment too? Your guess may be as good as mine.

  2. 2 bootlace 2 August 2011 at 05:38

    He’s lucky not to have been incarcerated at Onraet Road. But then his
    article might run to a dozen pages😛

  3. 3 Zicoman 2 August 2011 at 06:47

    The Singapore government shares similarity to North Korea and China – they muzzle dissent and and opposing views. Democracy is ok so long as it does not question their authority or any misdeeds of their government. Their corrupt practices are carefully masked and you are unable to challenge them in court as it is endorsed by them in parliament. The court is also beholden to these ruling group as their monthly paycheck depends on these corrupt few.
    Not surprised with the incompetent government and bureaucracy on the amount of resources they have to put in, just to send off a ‘celebrity’.

  4. 4 Know the Truth 2 August 2011 at 08:33

    Well it does not come as a surprise as to how prisoners are treated but I believe the worst was how the ISA detainees were treated, this were people who had not been convicted of any crime. Operation Cold Store and the later Marxist Conspiracy was but the work of a deranged and deluded power crazy man. After reading the available alternate literature, the British records and speaking to the poor victims, it has been proven that there was no evidence that could stand the scrutiny of the courts that these people were communist and the British records explicitely state that it was ploy used to get rid of political opponents. This is what happens when despots control all the publis institution whose role is the protect the people’s rights

  5. 5 Jack Koh 2 August 2011 at 09:37

    My impression of Alan changed after reading this post. Initially, I see him as a tragic hero, victimized by our judicial system.

    Now, he’s just another obnoxious man who complains too much.

    • 6 Tan Tai Wei 2 August 2011 at 12:53

      Why should this piece of his cause your change of heart had you really thought him a hero before?

      One, should our prisons wait until prisoners’ pre-existent illnesses have predictably deteriorated to danger point as the result of prison conditions before panicking and sending them to A&E?

      Two, shouldn’t prison authorities be intelligently discriminatory and not waste personnel and resources at shackling anover-guarding obviously safe prisoners, and not act robotic. imposing “standard procedures”?

      So, on these two counts at least, Alan in this piece is still his usual “heroic” self, striving to advance the cause of justice and mercy.

      • 7 kingAA 3 August 2011 at 03:19

        1. where do you draw the line for “danger point”? it would not be fair to prisoners if one prisoner were to receive more medical privileges than another. nor would it be fair to taxpayers. imprisonment as a punishment should not be something that you merely sit through. it should not allow someone the ability to maintain his lifestyle or level of comfort. a person’s existence in society imposes upon him the rights and obligations of citizenship in a society. for someone who does not uphold his obligations, imprisonment should provide no further rights beyond the mere sustenance of life.

        2. how would there be justice if prison administrators were to further invoke their own conscience in administering this punishment to prisoners? by your so-called discriminatory approach? the judiciary has already imposed a punishment upon a convict, and further application would distort that very fairness, notwithstanding if you share the same sense of fairness with the courts.

    • 8 Brendan 2 August 2011 at 20:43

      I agree with Jack. One must question whether he was really doing it for singaporeans or for self glory. It seems he die die wanted to expreience prison life and be a martyr (perhaps to go through the motions for a new book). He confirmed this when I met him in which he personally said he “didn’t care what the government will do to him next”.

      He could have actively fought not to even go to jail – like what Michael Faye did and pressed his own government to intervene by throwing their weight behind him), but choose to remain silent after his conviction was passed.

      I would certainly appreciate iit if he truely had singaporeans at heart but doesn’t seem like it.

      • 9 Daniel 3 August 2011 at 02:02

        Why do his motives even matter? Why not just look at the circumstances of the case instead of judging him based on how much he has Singaporeans “at heart”. I doubt he or anyone else in the UK has Singaporeans “at heart” now. I am here in the UK and yesterday I told someone I just met that I was from Singapore, and he made some comment about how we lock up people that write books. It’s really quite embarrassing. And I dare not comment anything on the UK political system or maybe the UK will decide to lock me in prison to reciprocate. The British seem to write considerably more books than Singaporeans so we’re probably safe for the time being though.

      • 10 Tan Tai Wei 3 August 2011 at 10:44

        KingAA, it would seem that it was precisely Alan’s “sustenance of life” that had been threatened. The punishment should not only not “maintain his usual level of comfort”, indeed, should impose appropriate discomfort. But harming his health was not part of the sentence of the court.

        And regarding the issue of excessive shackling and guarding, the equality of treatment of prisoners should be given according to what the security really called for, maybe not on a case-by-case basis (because of difficulty of execution) but decided by sorts of prisoners. Shackling and guarding are meant to secure prisoners, not to punish.

      • 11 Steve 3 August 2011 at 17:03

        @Brendan: I think Shadrake was just tired of the whole process. He is, after all, no longer a young man (like Michael Fay). The words sound very desperate to me. I would not judge anyone before I have been in the same situation!

    • 12 M 3 August 2011 at 09:14

      Jack,

      Perhaps it will be good for you to understand what makes a hero?

      Singapore authorities do not even treat its own citizens with dignity, what do you expect for foreigners.

      Alan is just asking to be treated decently like what he will get in a first-world country. But no!

      A lot of Singaporeans are still waiting for a hero to make their lives better, I think they ended up with Tin Pei Ling. So, don’t complain,

  6. 13 Oddball 2 August 2011 at 10:04

    There is something strange about the whole episode.

    I have not read the book and don’t intend to.

    The purported hangman, Darshan Singh, was first interviewed by the Australian press in connection with the Aussie drug trafficker case and subsequently by Shadrake.

    The government has never confirmed nor denied that Darshan Singh was indeed who he claimed to be.

    If he was indeed the hangman, he would undoubtedly be subject to the Official Secrets Act and would be in jail long ago for giving those interviews.

  7. 14 Tan Tai Wei 2 August 2011 at 10:13

    To be “constructive”, it should have been seen that both Alan and our judiciary are, after all, striving for the same goals, ie. judicial justice. (Even had he less honourable motives, his effort would still have the same effect.) And so his stringent investigations of our administration of justice should have been welcome, like commercial corporations welcoming and paying “trouble-shooters”. Precisely because we claim to be innocent, we should have taken his views as an opportunity to reassure ourselves, say by requiring our judicial personnel to examine their ways again, in order, also, that we can assure again our public and the world.

    Do we not, by prosecuting him, appear punitive, signalling that he had indeed points to make which we are sensitive about by conscience? Do we not appear to be wanting to suppress similar efforts, because we have perhaps really things to hide? And all this done at great expense to tax-payers, cf. Alan’s account of the whole battalion of soldiers and their shackles deployed on him.

  8. 15 jem 2 August 2011 at 11:09

    I wonder if ordinary prisoners, who also have back/other medical problems, would be treated similarly. I guess not.

    • 16 Steve 3 August 2011 at 17:04

      @jem: they should. Why should prison be so inhumane? Clearly being locked up alone is a great punishment. Not being able to eat outside, having a tight schedule, etc. are harsh punishments. Why make people lie on a concrete floor? That is really barbarian!

  9. 17 wikigam 2 August 2011 at 13:23

    Do i wrong to say that such “judicial system’ were their white man inovative product? Their product are creative and inovative (from democracy to marxist, from 377a to 911) but no user friendly at all.

    • 18 Daniel 3 August 2011 at 02:06

      Yes, you are wrong. The last I heard, Singapore was an independent country with full control over her laws and form of government. It is not a “white man” problem. It is a Singaporean one.

  10. 20 ben 2 August 2011 at 15:48

    Dont know what to say, at least you did not apologise and retract what you said, instead you chose to go to jail. Thats a matter of honour.

    Singapore is like China, except there is election. But the population has been coerced into submission that most actually agree with the draconian policies.

    Nothing much we can do.

  11. 21 S Jega 2 August 2011 at 16:48

    alan shadrake- you deserve it.
    this is a lesson to everyone- local and foreign who makes malicious and scadalous accusations about the judiciary- the highest and esteemed office on our land- singapore.
    dont you dare make such statements again.

    • 22 why? do you want to arrest me for libel, too? 1 September 2011 at 09:19

      The Singaporean judiciary is rotten to the core. That’s been documented by a Singaporean (and experienced by Singaporeans and foreigners alike). I’ll dare to make such statements until the corrupt judges and PAP politician-dictators (who stay in power by falsely suing their opponents for Libel to “protect” their “reputation,” which is SHIT in every country except the puddle-sized city-state of Singapore) are driven out like Ghadafi has been in Libya.

  12. 23 Anonymous 2 August 2011 at 19:52

    ~~~this is a lesson to everyone- local and foreign who makes malicious and scadalous accusations about the judiciary- the highest and esteemed office on our land- singapore.
    dont you dare make such statements again.~~~

    Haha! accusations your buffonery of a judicial system couldnt even prove! A book that hasn’t even been banned! S Jega, if it isnt for people like Alan you and your ilk will continue to be moronic brainless slaves to what goes on around you. You and your government are idiots. And the world knows it!!!!

  13. 24 kingAA 2 August 2011 at 22:57

    “Books of a political nature are normally banned but it seemed whoever approved them had no idea what they were about”

    They’re quite popular secondary school/junior college literature texts so I doubt they “had no idea”. These works of fiction are quite innocuous in my opinion.

    • 25 Tan Tai Wei 3 August 2011 at 13:46

      You really think that our prison wardens could have any notion of literary art and its possible meanings by satire or otherwise? It was probably more like our censorship of pornograpy: “literal” exposure of female breast, etc (cut), subtle, slantwise insinuations even more potent (pass).

    • 26 Steve 3 August 2011 at 17:07

      but they describe Singapore quite well😉

  14. 27 Concerned 2 August 2011 at 23:52

    I see this site has its fair share of morons as well. Seeing all these PAP puppets is saddening. You know our country is in a state of decadence when we incarcerate a man whose primary aim was(I highlight the use of the past tense here) to better our judicial system. “Highest and esteemed office”? Please. Also, what is up with your syntax? Christ.

  15. 28 tk chew 3 August 2011 at 10:16

    That book of his was riddled with typos and various other grammatical howlers. Plus, he did belabour a point on far too many occasions. Looks like Alex mopped up his work here, as it’s error free.

    Yes, kudos for exposing Singapore’s wretched justice system. But his crass grandstanding and over-emphasis that Singaporeans are, by and large, idiots has not gone down well at all. Good riddance.

    • 29 Poker Player 4 August 2011 at 11:14

      Why good riddance? The PAP ideology is premissed on the assumption that Singaporeans are idiots. You just have to listen to LKY talk about the people he rules.

  16. 30 wikigam 3 August 2011 at 10:23

    To : Daniel

    Ha ! please let me know the name of singaporean who write penal code 377a ? Fake independent of 46 years. Happy birthday.

    • 31 Erica 3 August 2011 at 23:26

      Whoever decided to keep it , against the advice of the Law Society, while repealing s377, effectively took ownership of it as if they had written it themselves and have total responsibility for it.

    • 32 Daniel 4 August 2011 at 05:42

      Aiyoh always got someone want to blame ang moh for everything. Where got ang moh in our parliament that vote to keep 377A that time?

      Make Singapore a colony again, we would be better off. Economic gains in the past were just because of the presence of a good deep water port anyway. I don’t think “good governance” really played much of a role.

  17. 33 Anonymous 3 August 2011 at 13:04

    @Concerned,
    You’re right. Singapore is going to the dogs…

  18. 34 spareathought@hotmail.com 3 August 2011 at 18:11

    Darshan Singh was tricked by the Aussie journalists into giving details of what he did – he has tried to retire a number of times but he was recalled to service because none of his understudies could do the job – have some sympathy for a simple man whose whole life has been turned upside down because of the revelations of the journalists and Shandrake. He cannot even go out in public becauce he fears retaliation for carrying out his duties from the underlings of the underworld who in their simpleton ways blame and hold him responsible for the hangings of their kakis/chongs.

  19. 35 Rajiv Chaudhry 6 August 2011 at 09:29

    To KingAA and others who believe prison life should be tough (“it should not allow someone the ability to maintain his lifestyle or level of comfort …….. beyond the mere sustenance of life”), read the debate in the following story. In particular, have a look at the video clip, its quite an eye-opener:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/07/norwegian-v-american-justice

  20. 36 wikigam 6 August 2011 at 09:53

    Surely need to Blame the super kpo ang moh, if 377a wasn’t created by them in our penal code, we will not waste time to appeal it. Now , they are behind the internet bar to retain 377a for their regilion benefits.

  21. 37 yawningbread 6 August 2011 at 10:12

    spareathought – the line that Darshan Singh was “tricked” is disinformation spread by the Singapore government.

    Alan Shadrake introduced himself as a journalist and writer when Darshan opened his front door, and introduced the photographer who had accompanied him. Darshan invited them in and agreed to the photographer taking pictures including the one that went around the world. He also answered Shadrake’s questions at length.

    More importantly, Darshan invited Shadrake back on another occasion for a home-cooked meal — if I’m not wrong, Shadrake did take up this offer to continue the interview.

    As for whether Darshan broke the Official Secrets Act, I’m not in any position to judge.

  22. 38 Erica 9 August 2011 at 22:40

    He was actually deprived of his freedom for a year, penniless and in ill health in a foreign country, not just the 5 weeks in a third world-type jail. Whatever he wrote, it could not merit treating an old man in this way, and it was an own goal that had the reverse effect of what was intended. It would have been better, from his opponents’ point of view, simply to ignore it.


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