"The prosecution of Alan Shadrake for doing nothing more than calling for legal reform is a devastating blow to free speech in Singapore." Human Rights Watch
New York, May 27, 2011 - The Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the author Alan Shadrake's contempt of court sentence for "scandalizing the judiciary" is a major setback for free expression in Singapore, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges should be dropped, Human Rights Watch said.
On May 27, 2011, the appeals court upheld British national Shadrake's original sentence of six weeks in prison and a S$20,000 (US$16,000) fine. He had been charged for the allegation in his 2010 book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, that mandatory death penalty decisions were not always equitably applied in Singapore. He contended that the justice system was subject to political and economic factors, including pressure from the ruling People's Action Party. At Shadrake's appeal on April 11, the prosecutor contended that he had "transgressed the limits of free speech and fair criticism and maligned the entire judiciary."
"The prosecution of Alan Shadrake for doing nothing more than calling for legal reform is a devastating blow to free speech in Singapore," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "More broadly, until the government releases its iron grip on basic freedoms, the Singaporean people will remain all the poorer."
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Shadrake's arrest, detention, trial, and appeal, please visit:
Sources and Relevant Links:
Press Release: Human Rights Watch Singapore: Court Upholds Ruling Against Government Critic 27 May 2011
Human Rights Watch Singapore: UN Rights Body Should Press for Fundamental Freedoms 4 May 2011
Straits Times British author Alan Shadrake loses appeal 27 May 2011
Bloomberg U.K. Author Loses Singapore Appeal 27 May 2011
SADP & Think Centre Joint statement by SADPC and Think Centre on the Alan Shadrake's case 17 November 2010