Wednesday, June 1, 2011

British author starts Singapore jail term

A 76-year-old British writer who published a book denouncing judicial hangings in Singapore started a prison term on Wednesday for contempt.

Alan Shadrake, who wrote around the using hanging to execute drug traffickers and murderers inside the city-state, turned himself in within the High Court.

On Friday he lost his appeal against a six-week sentence, the toughest ever imposed in Singapore for contempt.

Shadrake could hardly afford to repay a Sg$20,000 ($16,200) fine atop the prison term, leading to another two weeks in jail, using the term to two months in whole. He or she is released earlier permanently behaviour.

He was able to undergo a medical test before serving his sentence.

"I feel fine. I believe that Singapore has shamed itself again by jailing me," Shadrake told AFP by telephone.

"For Singapore never to allow this free expression, to jail someone with regards to opinions... it's bloody nonsense," added mcdougal of "Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice within the Dock".

London-based Amnesty International denounced Shadrake's imprisonment and urged Singapore to release the article author.

"Singapore has thrown Alan Shadrake in prison solely for exercising his basic right of free speech," Lance Lattig, Amnesty Southeast Asia researcher, said in a statement.

"The Singapore government should release Shadrake and scrap laws that criminalise peaceful criticism with imprisonment and crippling fines," he explained.

Shadrake's book has a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison who, according to the author, hanged around 1,000 women and men including foreigners from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

Shadrake's book features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former law enforcement officials, and alleges that some instances involving foreigners was relying on diplomatic and trade considerations.

He was arrested by Singapore police in July last year while coming to the city to produce the primary edition of his book, that was first published in neighbouring Malaysia.

Shadrake said previously that this second edition of his book was already available for sale nationwide and was on account of be launched in Britain on June 1.

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