A Singapore court has found the UK author Alan Shadrake guilty of insulting the Singapore judiciary in a book
he wrote about the death penalty.
The 75-year-old will be sentenced for contempt next week; he also faces trial on defamation charges.
In his book, Once a Jolly Hangman - Singapore Justice in the Dock, he criticised how the death penalty is used, alleging a lack of impartiality.
The Malaysia-based Shadrake was arrested in July when he visited Singapore to launch his book.
This is a case about someone who says among other things the judges in Singapore are not impartial... (and are) influenced by political and economic situations and biased against the weak and the poor, Justice Quentin Loh said.
The book contains interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, as well as a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison. It claims he executed around 1,000 men and women from
1959 until he retired in 2006.
Separately, Shadrake is being investigated by the police for criminal defamation; his passport is being held by the police.
The BBC's Vaudine England says few critics of Singapore manage to avoid censure in the city-state's courts.
16th November 2010. Based on article
A Singapore court jailed the 75-year-old British author for six weeks on Tuesday for publishing a book critical of executions in
Alan Shadrake was handed the prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars (15,000 US) for contempt of court over the book, which features an interview with a former chief executioner.
High Court Judge Quentin Loh dismissed a last-minute apology by Shadrake as nothing more than a tactical ploy in court to obtain a reduced sentence and ruled that the freelance journalist will have to serve two extra weeks in prison if he
fails to pay the fine.
A fine should be imposed to prevent Mr Shadrake from profiting from his contempt (of court), the judge said.
The ruling said the sentence was the stiffest ever imposed for contempt of court in Singapore. The previous longest jail term was 15 days.
Update: Offered a Way Out
23rd November 2010. Based on article
The Attorney General's Office made an unprecedented application for the court to remind Alan Shadrake of his right to seek leave
of the court if he wants to leave Singapore.
This implies that if his defence team applies for Shadrake to leave the jurisdiction, the prosecution would not contest it.
Shadrake, who appealed the sentence last week, has said that he will consider the offer.