UK author jailed in Singapore

A Singapore High Court has sentenced a British author to imprisonment for his views on the death penalty.

The UK author, Alan Shadrake, has been sentenced to six weeks in jail by a Singapore court, for the crime of insulting the judiciary in his book about the death penalty.

The 76 year-old was ordered to pay $20,000 Singapore dollars and faces further defamation charges after he was found guilty last week.

After the verdict was issued, Shadrake told the media, ‘I think I have been given a fair hearing.’

In his book, Once a Jolly Hangman – Singapore Justice in the Dock, Shadrake criticises the lack of impartiality in how the death penalty is used in Singapore and features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers.

The book also contains a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore’s Changi Prison where it is claimed he executed around 1,000 men and women from 1959 until his retirement in 2006.

Malaysian-based Shadrake was arrested in July when he visited Singapore for his book launch and prosecution lawyers had originally sought a prison term of 12 weeks.

The author’s lawyer, M Ravi, said an appeal was unlikely to succeed, but made clear his client was in ill health and could not pay the fine, which translates to £9,585.

Shadake is also being investigated by police on a separate count of criminal defamation and his passport is currently being held by the police.

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