British author to be deported by Singapore

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A British author who spent five weeks in jail for contempt of court after questioning judicial executions in Singapore was set to be deported Saturday.

Alan Shadrake, 76, told AFP by mobile phone after his release from Changi prison that he was on on his way to the airport.

"I am still with immigration," he added, and quickly hung up.

Earlier, Shadrake was seen being whisked away from Changi prison in a van marked "Immigration and Checkpoints Authority" by an AFP photographer.

Shadrake was expected to be deported shortly after on a Singapore Airlines flight to London, according to his lawyer M. Ravi.

"He is being deported by the immigration authorities," Ravi told AFP.

Shadrake went to jail on June 1 after losing his appeal against a six-week jail sentence, the toughest ever imposed in Singapore for contempt of court.

The freelance journalist was ordered to serve an extra two weeks behind bars as he could not pay the Sg$20,000 ($16,000) fine that accompanied his sentence, but Ravi said his client was released early on account of good behaviour.

Lance Lattig, human rights group Amnesty International's researcher on Southeast Asia, said Singapore should have dropped all charges against Shadrake.

"They shouldn't have prosecuted him in the first place," said Lattig.

Shadrake's book titled "Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock" includes a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Changi Prison.

According to Shadrake's book, Singh hanged around 1,000 men and women including foreigners from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

His 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.

© 2011 AFP

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