Singapore to jail UK author over 'insulting book'

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A 76-year-old British author on Friday lost his appeal against a six-week jail term and fine for insulting Singapore's judiciary in a book about criminal executions in the city-state.

Alan Shadrake, a freelance journalist and author of "Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock", joked and laughed with reporters outside the court after the judgement was read.

"I expected the decision. I am very sorry for Singapore. I'm not sorry for myself," he said.

Shadrake will undergo a medical test before he starts his jail term on Wednesday.

He had been out on bail while seeking to reverse a High Court ruling in November that sentenced him to prison and a fine of Sg$20,000 ($16,150) for insulting the judiciary.

"We affirm the sentence imposed by the judge," said Justice Andrew Phang of the three-member Court of Appeal panel.

There was no immediate comment from the British embassy.

When he launched his appeal, Shadrake defiantly described the charges as "bloody nonsense" and said he was ready to go to jail.

Shadrake's jail term was the stiffest sentence ever imposed in Singapore for the offence and was denounced by international human rights groups campaigning for an end to executions and for greater freedom of expression in the country.

Shadrake said last week that the second edition of his book was already on sale in Australia and due to be launched in Britain on June 1.

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

The book also features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, and alleges that some cases involving foreigners may have been influenced by diplomatic and trade considerations.

Shadrake was arrested by Singapore police in July while visiting the city to launch his book, which was first published in neighbouring Malaysia.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article