A teen blogger in Singapore was sentenced to six weeks in jail on Thursday for “wounding religious feelings” after he pleaded guilty to posting comments on the Internet criticizing Christianity and Islam. The 17-year-old defendant, Amos Yee, told reporters he thought the sentence was very fair [Reuters report]. However, others have criticized the sentence as deterring freedom of expression. Last year Yee was also jailed [JURIST report] after posting images and video insulting the country’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew [BBC backgrounder]. A UN rights expert warned [JURIST report] that Yee’s trial was a sign of increased criminalization of expression in Singapore.
Singapore has a history of prosecuting those critical of the government. In March 2015 the Supreme Court of Singapore fined blogger Alex Au [JURIST report] for comments he made about an on-going challenge to the country’s anti-homosexuality laws. Another court ordered blogger Roy Ngerng [JURIST report] to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for legal fees incurred pursuing a defamation case against Ngerng. In 2008 a Singapore court sentenced US blogger and attorney Gopalan Nair [JURIST report] to three months in jail for insulting a judge.