Singapore: Blogger jailed for insulting 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”

On his blog, Gopalan had allegedly insulted Justice Belinda Ang in relation to a court matter in assessing damages in a defamation suit that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew won against the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and its leaders.

Gopalan (pic below) 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. Gopalan had represented himself in court, and 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”.

Gopalan Nair

Gopalan's sentence comes shortly after Singapore's attorney general announced contempt of court proceedings it had filed against the publisher of the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal and two of its editors, saying their editorials “impugn the impartiality, integrity and independence of the Singapore judiciary”.

According to Reuters, freedom of speech and expression, especially in relation to politics, race and religion, are tightly regulated in Singapore. While, the government says this is needed to maintain the country's social and political stability, critics suggest it is misuse of the legal system.

 

5 comments

  • [...] Singapore: Blogger jailed for insulting judge Daniel Chandranayagam Global Voices Advocacy: September 19, 2008  [...]


  • [...] For more, click here. [...]


  • ehm, i guess its happen at any country. Looks like some blogger do something bad for certain people. I believe someone not like that blogger and what blogger write at his blog.

  • [...] This is where you may be telling me that we do not have to choose, that I have no case here, conflating two inherently different contexts with each other – political bloggers and bloggers who have made incendiary comments against a particular ethnic group -  but let me put it to you this way: if you choose to recognize bloggers’ right to free expression, and thus judge governments who imprison political bloggers to be unjust, you cannot in good conscience punish other bloggers for making incendiary comments that were their right to make. Conversely, if you choose to recognize the need for some form of punishment for harmful actions, and thus judge governments who imprision bloggers with offensive messages to be just, you cannot in good conscience denounce another government for taking action against persons whom they saw as launching attacks on them, citizens who fall under their protection, and their society as a whole. (In some cases, this may even be the same government.) [...]


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