Friday, July 30, 2010

British author refuses to apologise for Singapore death penalty book

Alan Shadrake, whose trial on contempt of court charges in Singapore began today, has rejected an offer from the attorney general's chambers to issue an "unreserved apology".

After the trial was adjourned for several weeks to allow him and his lawyer M Ravi time to prepare their case, he vowed that he would not back down.

"I would never apologize and I would never say sorry," Shadrake told reporters, according to AP. "I didn't do this to grovel to them like Singaporeans mostly have to do to lead a normal life."

The attorney general's chambers alleges that various statements in Shadrake's book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, "impugn the impartiality, integrity and independence of the Singapore Judiciary".

At the start of today's hearing, senior counsel David Chong from the attorney general's chambers warned journalists that they too would be liable to contempt of court proceedings if they reproduced the paragraphs from the book that are at the centre of the case.

So the debate about this case, and the wider issue of the death penalty in Singapore, will doubtless be severly restricted in Singapore and foreign journalists based in the city-state will be writing their pieces with extra caution.

I'm currently reading the book for a review I'm writing for Asia Sentinel so will make my thoughts known in due course.

No comments:

Post a Comment