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Singapore court orders blogger to pay PM court cost in defamation suit

[JURIST] A court in Singapore on Monday ordered blogger Roy Ngerng [blog] to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong [official profile] S$29,000 (USD $21,700) in legal fees and related expenses incurred after Lee won a defamation case against Ngerng in November of last year. In May of last year Ngerng penned a blog post allegedly accusing [Reuters report] the prime minister of misappropriating funds in Singapore's mandatory retirement savings program, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) [official website]. The article entitled "Where your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial" was removed by Ngerng in late May and was accompanied by an apology [blog post]. The press secretary to the prime minister has stated that hearings to determine damages payable to Lee have not yet been scheduled.

Rights activists throughout the globe have faced defamation actions in response to alleged uncovering of government abuse. In November an official for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] stated [JURIST report] that human rights activists in Burundi have been the subjects of threats and defamation for their current role within the state. In May a Palestinian court announced [JURIST report] that Mohammed Dahlan, leading rival of President Mahmoud Abbas, had been sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for defamation. In 2013 Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Tunisian authorities to repeal a law that criminalizes defamation.

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