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article imageUK Author Alan Shadrake jailed in Singapore

By Jane Fazackarley     Nov 17, 2010 in World
Alan Shadrake, British author and former journalist. has been jailed in Singapore. He was sentenced after being found guilty on charges of insulting the judiciary after he criticised the use of the death penalty in a book.
In "Once a Jolly Hangman - Singapore Justice in the Dock" Shadrake alleged that there was a "lack of impartially" in the use of the death penalty, the BBC report.
The Telegraph
report the the author has been jailed for six weeks and has received a fine of $15,400 for contempt of court. The prosecution had called for a 12 week sentence according to the Daily Mail.
Shadrake was arrested earlier this year. It has not been confirmed whether he will appeal and he still faces further charges.
A blog on the Guardian website calls the decision to sentence Shadrake "a disgrace".
The author apologised when he appeared at a hearing last week, the Daily Mail report. This was dismissed as "nothing more than a tactical ploy to in court to obtain a reduced sentence", the Guardian report.
I contacted Index on Censorship for their comment on this. A statement issued by their Chief Executive John Kampfner said:
“Alan Shadrake’s sentence once again shows Singapore’s desperate difficulties in dealing with criticism and free expression."
“The conviction of Alan Shadrake for what would have been deemed in many countries to constitute fair comment is another example of Singapore’s very poor record on free expression. If, as it says it does, the Singapore government seeks to loosen up culturally, it needs to understand that criticism of authority is part of the democratic discourse.”
In a press release on the Amnesty International website, Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific Director for Amnesty, said:
“Singapore is answering criticism by jailing its critics."
“Alan Shadrake’s sentence is a major step backwards for freedom of expression in Singapore.”
“By penalizing Alan Shadrake, Singapore has drawn even greater global attention to its lack of respect for freedom of expression."
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