Blogging in Singapore

Singapore blogger jailed for insulting a judge

5th June

Contempt of Singapore Court...

Blogger in Singapore arrested and detained for insult to judge

A California-based blogger who allegedly accused a judge of "prostituting herself" has been arrested and charged in Singapore.

Gopalan Nair, a former Singapore lawyer who is now a US citizen, was arrested in the city-state and charged with insulting a public servant, his lawyer Chia Ti Lik told AFP.

Nair was later remanded in custody for one more week as the authorities said they needed to investigate further.

According to a court document, Nair is charged with insulting Justice Belinda Ang Saw Ean by sending an email which said she was throughout prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders.

Nair's lawyer Chia said the comments essentially repeated those Nair made in a recent blog about a defamation case filed by Singapore's leaders against an opposition party and its members.

In the blog, Nair strongly criticised a three-day legal hearing last week at which Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, testified.

In another post on his blog Saturday, Nair taunted authorities, saying he was in Singapore at a particular hotel, and also gave his phone number: I am now within your jurisdiction... What are you going to do about it?" .

Nair is charged with insulting a public servant, which on conviction carries a maximum fine of 5,000 dollars (3,660 US) or one year in prison.

Update: On Trial

12th September 2008

US blogger and attorney Gopalan Nair appeared in the Singaporean Supreme Court and pleaded not guilty to insulting a public servant.

Nair is on trial for accusing a judge of prostituting herself in a defamation case brought by former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew against the Singapore Democratic Party. Under a provision of the Singaporean Penal Code, insulting a public servant conducting a judicial proceeding is punishable by up to one year in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. After Nair entered his plea, the trial was adjourned until later this week.

Nair faces another trial on a charge of insulting a second judge. He is also appealing his conviction last week on charges of disorderly conduct and using abusive words toward police officers.

In July, a report by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) concluded that Singapore lacks an independent judiciary and fails to meet international standards of human rights by heavily regulating international and domestic press and enforcing extreme defamation laws.


20th September

Update: Justified Contempt of Singapore Court...

Blogger in Singapore jailed for insult to judge

Former Singaporean citizen and naturalized American, Gopalan Nair, has been sentenced to three months imprisonment for insulting a high court judge on his blog.

Newspaper reports that the court, in handing out the sentence, had stated that Gopalan had scandalised…the judiciary and the administration of justice in Singapore

Gopalan had allegedly accused Justice Ang of prostituting herself…by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders.

In his defence, Gopalan said that he hoped to raise political awareness in Singapore on his blog. He admitted that his words might have been strong, but he was not remorseful as they were true.

He was charged under Section 228 of Singapore's Penal Code, Intentional insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding.


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