Sunday, July 18, 2010

Author of Death Penalty book arrested in Singapore

It is shocking when an advocate for the abolition of death penalty gets arrested in Singapore...

Singapore arrests British author of death penalty book

Alan Shadrake held for alleged criminal defamation and other offences after visiting Singapore for book launch
A veteran British journalist and author promoting his book on the death penalty in Singapore was arrested in the country today for alleged criminal defamation and other offences.

Alan Shadrake's arrest came two days after Singapore's Media Development Authority lodged a police report. The Foreign Office in London said it was seeking more information from local authorities.

The 75-year-old's latest book, Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice In The Dock, contains accounts of high-profile cases in Singapore involving the use of the death penalty, and includes interviews with a former executioner, Darshan Singh. Published by a Malaysian company, the book was first released in Malaysia.
Death penalty opponents who helped to organise the Singapore launch were told by police that no bail had yet been set for Shadrake, whose passport has been impounded.

Last week one of Singapore's biggest book retailers, Kinokuniya, withdrew the book from its shelves after it was contacted by the Media Development Authority, which controls censorship in Singapore, according to the Asian Correspondent website.

In publicity material for the book, Margaret John, from Amnesty International Canada, described it as "a timely contribution to growing criticism of Singapore's shameful use of the death penalty".

Shadrake attracted the attention of authorities in Singapore in 2005 when he revealed the identity of Singh shortly before he executed an Australian drug trafficker, Nguyen Van Tuong. The case, a cause célèbre in Australia, led to friction between the Australian and Singaporean governments.

Singapore has a reputation for taking tough legal action against what it sees as unfair criticism. In March last year a judge found a Wall Street Journal senior editor, Melanie Kirkpatrick, in contempt of court for allegedly impugning the independence of Singapore's judiciary.

In October the Far Eastern Economic Review and its editor-in-chief, Hugo Restall, lost an appeal in a defamation lawsuit brought by Singapore's founding leader, Lee Kuan Yew, and his son, the current prime minister, Hsien Loong Lee, over a 2006 article that they said implicitly suggested they may have abused the public's trust.

"In the interests of security, public order, morality, national harmony, or friendly foreign relations, Singapore law authorises censorship of content and distribution of print material and films, severe limits on public processions and assemblies, and prolonged detention of suspects without trial," was Human Rights Watch's verdict on the city state. - Guardian, 18/7/2010, Singapore arrests British author of death penalty book

Jul 19, 2010

'Hangman' writer arrested

Mr Alan Shadrake's arrest comes just two days after a police report was lodged by the Media Development Authority. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF ALAN SHADRAKE

A BRITISH national who was in Singapore to launch his book which discusses the death penalty in this country was arrested on Sunday morning. 

Mr Alan Shadrake's arrest comes just two days after a police report was lodged by the Media Development Authority.

In response to queries from The Straits Times on Sunday, a police spokesman said that amongst other things, Mr Shadrake is being investigated for alleged offences of criminal defamation.

The veteran freelance journalist has also been served with an order by the Attorney-General to attend court for contempt of court, based on the contents of the book.

The Straits Times understands that the alleged offences are related to the 75-year-old's latest book titled Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice In The Dock.

The 219-page book is filled with accounts of high-profile cases in Singapore involving the use of the death penalty and includes interviews with the country's former executioner Mr Darshan Singh - Straits Times, 19/7/2010,'Hangman' writer arrested 

SINGAPORE: Singapore police say they arrested British writer Alan Shadrake as part of a criminal defamation investigation. Singapore Police Force says in a statement Monday that Shadrake was arrested Sunday.

Shadrake was in Singapore to promote his new book that examines the city-state's death penalty policy and features an interview with a former executioner.

A spokeswoman for the attorney-general said its office would also seek contempt of court charges against Shadrake because statements in the book allegedly impugn the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary. - AP, Star, 19/7/2010, Singapore arrests British writer for defamation

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