Friday, July 23, 2010

Alan Shadrake update

Inevitably, the initial international media buzz surrounding the arrest of British writer Alan Shadrake in Singapore has faded.

But for Shadrake, the saga continues. Although Shadrake was released on bail in the early hours of Tuesday morning, he has subsequently been summoned back to the police station several times for lengthy interrogation sessions, according to independent news site The Online Citizen.

The Online Citizen, which broke the story of Shadrake's arrest, also claims that police have seized a tape recording of Shadrake's book launch from a reporter for one of the city-state's government-controlled newspapers.

Erudite blogger Alex Au has seen a copy of the summons issued to Shadrake and reveals that so far all charges relate to contempt of court, rather than the criminal defamation allegations for which he was originally arrested.

As one of the commenters on Alex's blog points out, this may have worrying implications as the defence of justification (i.e. that what you wrote was true) is only available in defamation cases, not in contempt of court cases.

Elsewhere, I have written an analysis piece for Index on Censorship on the wider implications of Shadrake's arrest and James Gomez, a Singaporean academic and author of Self-Censorship: Singapore's Shame (good book, downloadable for free here), has done an interview on the case with Radio Australia.

British comedian Natalie Haynes has also penned her take on the case for Index on Censorship. She concludes:

You might be wondering who he defamed. The country’s most prolific hangman, perhaps? Or a judge? Or a policeman? Wrong every time, sunshine — he’s charged with defaming the country’s judicial system. How can it be possible to defame a system? Has he hurt the feelings of individual lawyers? All of them? And if so, couldn’t they bill someone for an extra hour, cackle softly, and grow the fuck up?


  1. Please say hello to Alan for me please and that I am following the events of what is happening.I wish him well.

  2. I hope this shows to the English population what Singapore really is and how it is run . Hopefully it will deter tourists from going

  3. The Singapore Government, whether right or wrong, has never been known to relent to any international pressure nor criticism.

    Under international spotlight, they remain intransigent. So perhaps Alan might want to bear in mind, that whilst he is intent on self-promotion, he does not inadvertently cause the Singapore machinery to dig their heels in on Yong Vui Kong.