I refer to the article “An outspoken Singaporean blogger wins asylum in America” (The Economist, Apr 1 – 7)
It states that “Immigration judges often grant asylum with a simple, spoken ruling. This one explained himself over 13 pages. He gave eight reasons why the charges of wounding religious sentiment and obscenity were simply a pretext to suppress Mr Lee’s political views, including the disproportionate prison sentence handed to a young first-time offender, the fact that his first video—and the public response—focused far more on his criticism of Lee Kuan Yew than his “tangential” remarks about Christianity, and Singapore’s failure to prosecute other people who had insulted Islam.
The judge accepted testimony from expert witnesses arguing that “this is the modus operandi for the Singapore regime—critics of the government are silenced by civil suit for defamation or criminal prosecutions.” The judge accepted that Mr Yee (pictured) was legally prosecuted under Singaporean law, but ruled that his prosecution served “a nefarious purpose—namely to stifle political dissent”.
Yet “The head of Singapore’s association of criminal lawyers said his members were “outraged” by the judge’s “baseless and unwarranted” findings. Saying such things about a ruling of a Singaporean court, ironically, could put the speaker at risk of prosecution for contempt”.
Leong Sze Hian