Alan Shadrake, a British author, has begun a six week prison sentence in Singapore after a court there rejected his appeal.
Shadrake was convicted of contempt of court for the allegations he made in his book about the application of capital punishment in Singapore, ‘Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore in the Dock.’
He was also fined the equivalent of just over 11,000 euros. If he does not pay that fine the 75-year-old will have to serve another two weeks in jail.
“I feel fine. I feel that Singapore has shamed itself again by jailing me,” Shadrake said. “For Singapore not to allow this free expression, to jail someone for their opinions, it’s bloody nonsense,” the author added.
Shadrake was convicted on November 3 last year, found guilty of scandalising the Singapore judiciary in 11 passages from his book.
Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar, executive directors of The Death Penalty Project said:
“We are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the appeal, in particular, the decision to uphold the imposition of a custodial sentence on Mr Shadrake for the contempt of scandalising the court. In any developed country, legitimate criticism of judicial conduct should be protected by the fundamental right to free expression which in turn strengthens public confidence.”
The Project works to promote and protect the human rights of those facing the death penalty and provides expert support to local lawyers and human rights organisations.
The book claims that Singapore courts dispense unequal justice and succumb to political and economic pressure. It says they are biased against the poor or less educated. The book also includes interviews with the former chief executioner at Singapore’s Changi Prison, Darshan Singh, who said he executed about 1,000 prisoners between 1959 and 2006.
By Ali Sheikholeslami