Singaporean social media influencer Camira Asrori questioned by authorities over support for Palestine

Fellow social media influencer Dahlia Mohd also revealed that she too had a similar experience to Camira's.

16 Feb 2024 06:49pm
Both Camira Asrori and Dahlia Mohd have recounted similar experiences of being questioned by the police regarding their social media posts expressing support for Palestine.
Both Camira Asrori and Dahlia Mohd have recounted similar experiences of being questioned by the police regarding their social media posts expressing support for Palestine.

SHAH ALAM - Singaporean social media influencer Camira Asrori claimed she was questioned by authorities for participating in a protest in Japan for supporting Palestine.

In a recent Instagram video lasting three minutes posted on her account @camira.asrori, she detailed her interaction with the authorities and offered advice to fellow Singaporeans on their rights if approached by law enforcement on the matter.

“If you are a Singaporean and you have been posting about ‘watermelon’ (Palestine), you have to watch this video.

“For a little backstory, I was detained at Singapore Customs when I was on my way back from Kuala Lumpur. When I was at the Passport Automated Lanes, I could not go through and had to go to the counter,” she said.

Upon reaching the Passport Automated Lanes, she was unable to proceed and was directed to the counter, which claimed was a common occurrence due to her coloured contact lens.

However, what followed was anything but routine. Camira's passport was confiscated and she was instructed to wait without being provided any explanations.

“The number one thing that you should ask, you should ask the officers to introduce themselves and ask which agency they are from.

“After I sat down, I asked again, what is this about? The officer told me that I would know in a while.

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“So, number two, you can ask the officer if you are under investigation, what is the offence you have committed and what law did you break,” she stated.

Furthermore, she asserted that all citizens had the right to refuse questioning without a formal interview letter, a critical safeguard against arbitrary interrogation.

“You can actually refuse the questioning and insist that they issue you an interview letter. No interview letter, no talk.

“So I could have left, but I did not know, so I stayed and I also missed my bus,” she added.

Camira said she was asked by the authorities about her social media activity, particularly her postings related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, she maintained transparency.

“I said yes. The officer even asked me how many postings I have done related to Palestine and I said that I have been posting everyday since Oct 7, 2023. Then, the officer asked for my phone.

“So number three, they cannot ask for your password unless they have a warrant.

“Number four, they are okay with you reposting content from other creators, but they will look into comments you have included in your repost. Do not be afraid if whatever you are saying is the truth,” she said.

Camira revealed that the Singaporean authorities may scrutinise reposted content, particularly the comments accompanying the posts. While reposting content from international sources may be permissible, caution was advised when referencing local content creators.

“Number five, they will also ask where you have been getting your content or your news from. Of course, you can mention all the Palestinian press that has been posting and active on social media.

“I do not think they can do anything to them. But please, do not mention your local content creators,” she emphasised.

The crux of Camira's ordeal came to light when an officer pointed out a post she shared while attending a protest in Japan supporting Palestine.

The officer argued that such posts could encourage Singaporeans to participate in overseas protests, potentially compromising their safety. This revelation prompted Camira to remove the post, leading to her eventual release.

She highlighted here that she had to remove postings of her participating in protests overseas first in order to be released by the authorities.

“So now we cannot do drugs overseas? We cannot go to a protest overseas? Next thing you know, we cannot even chew gum overseas?” she sarcastically questioned, referencing to Singapore’s notorious chewing gum ban.

Reflecting on her experience, Camira stressed the importance of standing firm in asserting one's rights, encouraging individuals to request an interview letter before engaging in questioning, thereby safeguarding their rights.

“I mention all of this information here not to scare you guys, but to pre-empt you not to be afraid because you are on the right side of history,” she said.

Following Camira's explanatory video on Instagram, fellow social media influencer Dahlia Mohd Amin commented revealing that she too had a similar experience to Camira's.

She went on to say: “Happened to me too. I had someone lodge a complaint based on my postings and fundraisers. Thankfully, now I know my legal rights and recognise what is procedure and what is not.”

Both Camira and Dahlia are prominent social media influencers in the fashion and beauty industry, boasting large followings. Camira currently commands an Instagram following of 26,000, while Dahlia @dahliamohd has amassed 19,5000 followers on the platform.

Since Israel’s aggression on the Palestinians erupted particularly in Gaza back in October last year, the Singaporean has taken a stance of non-interference, reflecting a long-held foreign policy focused on being a “friend to all and enemy to none”. Its deputy prime minister Lawrence Wong even said that Singapore’s “longstanding support for the two-state solution remains unchanged”, where the Palestinians people have the right to a homeland and that Israel has the right to live within secure borders.

Despite repeatedly stating its stance, it was also highlighted that Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had written a condolence letter to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the surprise offensive by Hamas’ military wing on Oct 7, where he was deeply saddened by the loss of lives, calling Hamas - Gaza’s legally elected government as terrorists.

The death count stands at approximately 1,200 for Israeli citizens have died since then, while more than 29,000 Palestinians were killed including 85 journalists (78 Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese) and over 136 United Nations Relief and Works Agency aid workers by relentless bombing by Israel as they practice the rights to “defend themselves”.