The sentence passed is cruel and harsh on Mr Shadrake, who is vulnerable in health. The Alan Shadrake case should not have gone to the court, he should have been kindly sent home.
We are greatly disappointed and regret the heavy-handed sentence handed down to Alan Shadrake by the Singapore Judiciary. This is a major blow to Singapore's international credibility as a country that respects the rule of law and has only served to emphasise the lack of compassion in our Judiciary.
Mr Shadrake should not have been persecuted for the publication of his book. His book should have instead been allowed to be publicly discussed and debated over. The judgement had failed to consider that the book dealt with serious topics such as the death penalty as administrated by the Singapore justice system, no casual reader would or should read it with an uncritical mind as one would with a book of fiction.
The persecution of Mr Shadrake, a freelance journalist, confirms once again that freedom of expression in Singapore remains repressed. The freedom to express one's thoughts and criticisms should be respected and the freedom to gain access to and share alternative opinions should also be allowed.
The lack of compassion on the part of the judiciary is especially compelling considering that Alan Shadrake is a 76 year old person who is sick and weak, with limited resources. Singapore's authorities, much as they disagree with the publication of his book, should take it easy and treat Alan gently. The sentence passed is cruel and harsh on Mr Shadrake, who is vulnerable in health. This has put Singapore on the international spotlight once again for the wrong reason.
Sinapan Samydorai, Think Centre's Director of ASEAN Affairs said, "They could have imagined Alan as a 76 year-old grandfather, vulnerable to poor health, yet stubborn to change while criticizing Singapore. The best course of action should then have been to talk to the poor old fellow, give him a hot meal, hold his hand and walk him home -- and the world opinion will have appreciate and thank the act of kindness. Instead, this uncalled for bullying only earned more loud cries against unjust and unfair treatment of a 76 year old when Singapore sends him to 6 weeks in jail and a $20,000 fine as well as an additional court expense of $55,000. Moreover, he faces additional charges of criminal contempt of court that justify a 2 years jail term. Is the lack of compassion on the part of the judiciary a fair reflection of the policy of the Singapore Parliament? "
The Alan Shadrake case should not have gone to the court, he should have been kindly sent home.
For media enquires, contact Think Centre spokesperson +65 94791906
Mr. Sinapan Samydorai
Director of ASEAN Affairs
Sources and Relevant Links:
Singapore sentences UK author to jail 16 November 2010
Human Rights Watch Singapore: Drop Charges Against Author Who Raised Rights Concerns 08 November 2010
British author sentenced to jail for death sentence book 16 November 2010
UK author Shadrake jailed for six weeks in Singapore
16 November 2010
UN General Assembly
UN Will Call for All States to Establish a Moratorium on Executions with View to Abolishing Death Penalty 11 November 2010
UN General Assembly
Third Committee 65 session links to all related documents
8 November 2010 UN General Assembly: Resolution on Moratorium on the use of the death penalty
9 November 2010 United Nations Singapore Amendment to the operative para on Moratorium on the use of the death penalty
The UN General Assembly Third Committee heard the last proposed amendment from the representative of Singapore, its main sponsor, who read the text in full. That all countries had a sovereign right to develop their own legal systems was a basic truth, she said. The amendment was simple, factual and balanced, and upheld the principle that a State itself must choose its own path of development. That was the crux of the issue. While her delegation appreciated the effort by some co-sponsors to work on the text, a "select group of co-sponsors" did not want to. If the intention of the resolution was to open a dialogue on the death penalty, then the amendment should be supported.
The Committee then rejected the amendment proposed in document A/C.3/65/L.63 by a vote of 58 in favour, to 79 against, with 30 abstentions.