Singapore jails defiant UK writer

2010-11-16 09:09

Singapore - A Singapore court jailed a defiant 76-year-old British author for six weeks on Tuesday for insulting the judiciary by publishing a book critical of executions in the city-state.

In the stiffest sentence imposed in Singapore for contempt of court, Alan Shadrake was also fined $15 000 for the book based on the long career of a hangman who allegedly put over 1 000 convicts to death.

High Court Judge Quentin Loh dismissed a last-minute apology by Shadrake as a "tactical ploy in court to obtain a reduced sentence" and said the freelance journalist must serve two extra weeks in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

In addition, he will have to pay legal costs of $55 000 dollars, but Shadrake was given a week's stay before the sentence is carried out while he decides whether to appeal.

Shadrake told reporters after the sentencing that he had expected the jail term and an even bigger fine.

"I don't have that kind of money," he said.

The judge said "a fine should be imposed to prevent Mr Shadrake from profiting from his contempt".

Controversial hanging method

The previous longest jail term for contempt of court was 15 days.

Singapore executes murderers and drug traffickers by hanging, a controversial method of punishment dating back to British colonial rule.

Shadrake, who lives in Malaysia and Britain, was arrested by Singapore police in July after launching the book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock.

It includes a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison who, according to the author, hanged around 1 000 men and women including foreigners from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

It also features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers on cases involving capital punishment, and alleges that some cases may have been influenced by diplomatic and trade considerations.

In a November 3 ruling that found Shadrake guilty, the judge said the author's technique "is to make or insinuate his claims against a dissembling and selective background of truths and half-truths, and sometimes outright falsehoods".

Sentence condemned

"A casual and unwary reader, who does not subject the book to detailed scrutiny, might well believe his claims... and in so doing would have lost confidence in the administration of justice in Singapore," the judge added.

Shadrake's jail sentence was strongly condemned by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) group.

"It's a serious blow and it will have a chilling effect on others who have differences or issues with the government," said Phil Robertson, deputy director of HRW's Asia division.

Shadrake was in a defiant mood at the entrance to the Supreme Court building before the hearing started.

He unfurled an Amnesty International Malaysia poster with the words "Stop the Death Penalty" in front of the media.

The poster bore a picture of a woman's head covered in a black hood with a noose around her neck.

Read more on:    singapore
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Somerset West - 08:57 AM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Somerset West due to high volumes
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.