Tuesday, July 20, 2010

British author's arrest in Singapore 'not linked' to death penalty debate

To the casual observer, it might have appeared that the arrest of British writer Alan Shadrake in Singapore was related to the fact that he has published a book that is highly critical of the Singapore government's use of the death penalty.

But, the Ministry of Home Affairs has thankfully made it clear in a statement that such a conclusion would be completely erroneous.

The ministry reassures us that Shadrake's "anti-death penalty views are not the issue in these investigations; it is his violation of the laws of Singapore which are".

Shadrake, like anyone else, is indeed free to express his views on this important issue:

The Singapore Government's position on the issue of capital punishment is not new. Those who disagree with our position have presented their arguments and as a matter of principle, we respect their right to hold such opposing views, as we hope they do ours.

The problem was not his views but his alleged criminality (although the Ministry appears to have forgotten to mention that his "offences" are still alleged at this stage - he has not even been charged yet):

Anyone, Singaporean or otherwise, who breaks the law regardless of the cause he touts, will be taken to task. Shadrake is no exception - he cannot expect to commit offences and then assume that he will be exempted from being held accountable under the law.

I'm glad that's all cleared up then.

The latest updates in the case are as follows: Shadrake was released in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Singapore time, after bail of S$10,000 was posted. His passport has been impounded and he cannot leave the country. A trial date has been set for July 30.


  1. "I'm glad that's all cleared up then" for you, so what was the charged. Can you spelled it out for me?

  2. Most likely gonna be "criminal defamation". That's the government's choice of weapon in Singapore. Has worked beautifully for them the last 2 decades or so.