“I was thrown in jail and a psychiatric clinic and then deported from Singapore for not wearing a Covid-19 mask.”

Don’t like wearing masks? Benjamin Glynn didn’t either. But because he refused to wear a mask, not accepting Singapore’s right to make them mandatory by law, he was treated like a terrorist, he tells RT.

Everything that happened to Benjamin Glynn turned his life upside down. Harsh arrests, jail time and a stint in a mental institution followed, but he assures, “I would do it all again, I don’t regret a thing.”

Living in Singapore, the Briton and his wife decided to return home with their two children and booked plane tickets for May 31. On the avid runner Glynn’s last day of work, he went for a run with his co-workers, then had some alcohol. On the train home, a passenger videotaped him not wearing a Covid mask – contrary to local rules – and uploaded the footage to the citizen journalism website Stomp.

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

Things got ugly, the police used batons and an ambulance was called because Glynn was bleeding from his knees, elbows and shoulders.

He spent the rest of the weekend in the cells, which he described as “horrible. There was a concrete floor with no bedding and the lights were constantly on. He began hallucinating from fatigue, after which he was released on bail.

The rest of the family flew to Great Britain, but he had to stay until his scheduled court date of July 23. It was even worse from there. He explained, “On July 19, five of them [the police] broke into my room. I hid in the bathroom and recorded everything on my phone. They left me no choice and dragged me outside.”

It was at this point that things got “downright grim.” Bail was revoked, Glynn ended up back in concrete police cells, and then was transferred to Changi Prison.

He continued: “I’m probably the only person in the history of Singapore who was glad to be in jail. I thought it couldn’t get any worse. But I still had no bed, it was a thin bamboo mat on the floor and a scratchy blanket.”

Throughout all of this, Glynn was honest-he admitted that he didn’t wear a mask on the train. But now he faces four charges: two for not wearing a mask, one for disorderly conduct, and one for threatening the police.

He said: “I admitted all along that I was not wearing a mask. My defense was based on the law and who has jurisdiction over who. Is this a criminal case or is it a violation of civil law?”

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

His few comments in court attracted attention, mistakenly giving the impression that he does not take his predicament seriously. This despite the fact that he came to some sessions handcuffed, wearing ankle bracelets and chained to a chair.

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

Glynn asked the judge three times in one hearing what law says people must wear masks, which seems to have angered the authorities, and he was sent to the Mental Health Institute for a psychiatric evaluation.

It was even harsher than Changi Prison, where at least he could read and have personal things.

Glynn recounted: “It was a horrible cell with little bars, no windows, and I wasn’t allowed anything-no toilet paper, no books, no toothbrush. I spent two weeks staring at the wall in the isolation ward, 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 in Singapore – I’m sure people in other countries are also accused of mental problems if they refuse to obey Covid rules.”

Throughout the trial, the judiciary offered him plea deals. But Glynn refused them, explaining, “That’s not how justice works, you can’t condemn a person to prison before trial and talk them into giving up their legal rights.”

In the end he was found guilty on all counts, but he had served enough time, so he was deported a few days later. And even that became a saga, because when he was led to the gate in shackles, KLM, the airline from which Glynn had 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 wheels of the plane touched the ground at Heathrow, but Glynn believes he is being unfairly portrayed, especially since the reason for the secret video was that he helped an elderly gentleman onto the train who was struggling to breathe with his mask on. After he helped the man into his seat, Glynn was approached by others about not wearing a mask himself. “In my opinion, I was treated like some kind of terrorist and criminal,” he said.

While he wouldn’t want to relive the incident, Glynn believes it showed more serious problems. He said: “It was unfortunate, but I stood up for my rights. I don’t believe in wearing masks. I stood up for my right not to wear a mask, which seems to be recognized in every major country except Singapore. My case highlighted a lot of injustices in Singapore’s legal system.”

And while he claims to have been subjected to “psychological torture,” he is eager to put that behind him, saying, “I’m not some crazy freedom fighter who wants to neglect his family or his career to keep doing this.”

Glynn was criticized in some circles, but also received many messages of support. So what did he take away from this bizarre experience?

“I think it showed that Singapore isn’t safe and the police don’t respect or observe human rights,” he claims.

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