World Council for Health is becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of Healing the Divide founder Iris Koh. Iris had been scheduled to present an update on her home country of Singapore during Day 2 of the South Asia Malaysia Health Summit (SAM22) on Saturday, January 22 but was unable to due to her arrest.
Refused bail, Iris was due to be publicly charged on Friday, January 28. Instead, we have learned that she had reportedly been committed to a psychiatric hospital and is now at Singapore General Hospital. Authorities have not disclosed why she has been committed, nor exactly where she is being held.
Also on Friday, the charges brought against Iris were increased. According to media reports, what began as a charge of “conspiracy to cheat” on Sunday, January 23—which carries a maximum prison term of three years—has today been updated to “being party to a criminal conspiracy”—a crime that is punishable by up to 20 years in jail, a fine, or both.
Iris is accused of falsifying vaccination records, a charge that her husband vehemently denies. “It is unthinkable that my dear wife, Iris, would be accused of cheating [Singapore’s Ministry of Health] with falsified vaccination status,” Her husband said in a video posted online. “Iris is not even a medical professional, she doesn’t have access to any system which would allow her to update the status of any patient.”
Iris has been a courageous advocate for healing the divide between vaccinated citizens and those who have chosen not to take the vaccine in Singapore. She has campaigned tirelessly to end discriminatory vaccine mandates that have stripped many of their freedoms and livelihoods. Iris’ intention has been to unite her country, even as the government appears set on tearing it apart and creating a two-tier society. This intention to divide is taking place in many places around the world, and people like Iris are doing their part to repair the damage.
When peaceful advocates of human rights like Iris Koh are arrested and hospitalized, especially without the knowledge of their loved ones, it becomes more clear that mandates and restrictions have little to do with keeping people safe. History has shown us time and time again that tyranny and persecution are never the answer.
According to Healing the Divide’s website, the organization stands for “unity, truth and empathy.” The World Council for Health stands with Iris Koh.
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