S’pore: Petition appeals for release of British journalist

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Reporters Without Borders have launched an international petition calling for the release of British author and journalist Alan Shadrake who is facing two years in prison for writing a book about the death penalty in Singapore.

The book that got Alan Shadrake in trouble with the Singapore authorities

The petition, which is addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, can be found on the organisation’s website.

http://en.rsf.org/ petition-alan-shadrake,38642.html

Alan Shadrake, 75, has been charged with contempt of court and the verdict in his case is expected on 26 October. At his trial which opened on 18 October, the prosecutor accused the journalist of making comments against the independence and integrity of the Singapore judiciary in his book “Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock”. Hema Subramanian, a lawyer from the Attorney General’s Chambers, said that Shadrake’s book contained “baseless, unwarranted attacks” that directly attacked the Singapore judiciary. She termed the allegations in the book as “outrageous, offensive and irresponsible”.

The journalist’s lawyer, M Ravi, argued that the book was well documented and backed up by evidence. It was a serious-minded and compassionate examination of the death penalty in Singapore.

Reporters Without Borders urges the Singapore judiciary to accept Alan Shadrake’s innocence and allow him to leave the country. In fact, the book contains no defamatory remarks, no personal attacks or verbal assaults aimed at undermining the operation of the justice system. Given that it is simply a critical analysis of the institution and its methods as a result of a rigorous and well documented investigation, this work cannot constitute contempt of court.

We would like to stress the fact that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), of which Singapore is a founding member, is a protector of basic freedoms.  The Singaporean government in July 1993 joined other member states in supporting the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights 1993 that calls on countries to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees freedom of expression.

READ MORE:  Presumption of innocence until proven guilty

Shadrake has been forced to stay on in Singapore since July in very difficult circumstances. His passport has been confiscated and his health has deteriorated badly since his arrest in July. He has serious heart problems and recently suffered an internal haemorrhage.

The British journalist is also virtually without resources and suffering serious financial problems.

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Alan Shadrake
3 Nov 2010 2.32am

JUSTICE, SINGAPORE STYLE I am being prosecuted and facing jail for exposing prosecutorial scandals in Singapore – scandals this PAP dictatorship doesn’t want decent Singaporean citizens to know about. One particular heinous scandal concerns Guiga Lyes Ben Laroussi, a Tunisian and valuable ‘foreign talent’ who was the main drug supplier to Singapore’s so-called High Society Drug Circle in 2004. This destroyer of lives was allowed to escape Singapore after facing a mandatory death penalty charge. The charge was then ‘negotiated down so he would receive a jail sentence of between 20 and 30 years in prison instead. Then another miracle happened: He was allowed bail in the sum of $280,000, given his passport back and allowed to leave Singapore. This could only have been done with the connivance of top government officials because they feared he would expose bigger names if he were to be sent to the gallows. I exposed this and other prosecutorial scandals in my book Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, because I hate injustice. While this evil drug baron – friend of the rich and privileged in Singapore… Read more »

Kong Kek Kuat
Kong Kek Kuat
1 Dec 2010 3.10am
Reply to  Alan Shadrake

@ Alan Shadrake

There you go again, mixin ‘n matchin facts with allegations you can´t substantiate fully.

From the way you told your story above, you sound like a story-teller — a coffee-shop story-teller.

If I didn´t know better, I would´ve thought you´re one of those old man I met at a hawker stall who had told me the incredible stories about the cause of death of Altantunya. Hey, you know what? There are so many intrigues about Malaysia that you should´ve written about Malaysia instead! Aw… but you knew Singapore would give more international publicity, didn´t you?

But cheer up mate, and just get on with your time in jail. After all, you deserve it — not to mention the good money you´re going to get from the sales of your book as well.