PETALING JAYA, 27 May 2011 — Following the sentencing of Alan Shadrake to a 6-week jail term for criticising the way the death penalty is administered in Singapore through his book Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock (SIRD, 2010), the Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD) condemns the decision of the Singapore court, stating it as a blatant disregard of the concept of freedom of expression.
“This is the heaviest sentence that an author has received for exposing the truth,” said Chong Ton Sin, Managing Director of SIRD. “Even at 76, and with various health complications, he continues to face these challenges with a strong spirit.
“He had a chance to make a public apology and plead guilty to lighten the sentence, but he told me that he would not. He needed to make a stand for what he believed in, and that was freedom of speech. I salute him for his courage and perseverance. As his publisher, and more importantly his friends, we at SIRD are fully behind Alan. We await his release and look forward to having him back with us here in Malaysia.”
Singapore’s highest court had earlier today rejected Shadrake’s appeal and upheld the sentence that was imposed on him in November last year. The 76-year-old veteran investigative journalist and author will report to court at 9.00am on 1 June 2011 to begin his sentence after he finishes medical tests over the next few days.
The writer has been sentenced to six weeks in jail for writing about the injustice and abuse of power regarding Singapore’s issuing of the death penalty. In his book he highlights the lack of impartiality in the way Singapore’s laws are implemented. While the book has not been officially banned in Singapore, sales in Singapore are prohibited by the government.
Despite having to go through months of gruelling court sessions, Shadrake worked on a revised and updated version of his book over the last couple of months. The new revised and updated Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock (2nd ed.), which was released on 13 May 2011 by SIRD in Malaysia, contains details of his arrest, trial, and judgement in the court of Judge Quentin Loh.
For more information about both editions of Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, please visit the Gerak Budaya website or email SIRD at sird (at) streamyx (dot) com