17 November 2010 – We are greatly disappointed and regret the heavy-handed sentence handed down to Alan Shadrake by the Singapore Judiciary. This is a major blow to Singapore’s international credibility as a country that respects the rule of law and has only served to emphasise the lack of compassion in our Judiciary.
Mr Shadrake should not have been persecuted for the publication of his book. His book should have instead been allowed to be publicly discussed and debated over.
The judgement had failed to consider that the book dealt with serious topics such as the death penalty as administrated by the Singapore justice system, no casual reader would or should read it with an uncritical mind as one would with a book of fiction.
The persecution of Mr Shadrake, a freelance journalist, confirms once again that freedom of expression in Singapore remains repressed. The freedom to express one’s thoughts and criticisms should be respected and the freedom to gain access to and share alternative opinions should also be allowed.
The lack of compassion on the part of the judiciary is especially compelling considering that Alan Shadrake is a 76 year old person who is sick and weak, with limited resources. Singapore’s authorities, much as they disagree with the publication of his book, should take it easy and treat Alan gently. The sentence passed is cruel and harsh on Mr Shadrake, who is vulnerable in health. This has put Singapore on the international spotlight once again for the wrong reason.
Sinapan Samydorai, Think Centre’s Director of ASEAN Affairs said, “They could have imagined Alan as a 76 year-old grandfather, vulnerable to poor health, yet stubborn to change while criticizing Singapore. The best course of action should then have been to talk to the poor old fellow, give him a hot meal, hold his hand and walk him home — and the world opinion will have appreciate and thank the act of kindness. Instead, this uncalled for bullying only earned more loud cries against unjust and unfair treatment of a 76 year old when Singapore sends him to 6 weeks in jail and a $20,000 fine as well as an additional court expense of $55,000. Moreover, he faces additional charges of criminal contempt of court that justify a 2 years jail term. Is the lack of compassion on the part of the judiciary a fair reflection of the policy of the Singapore Parliament?”
The Alan Shadrake case should not have gone to the court, he should have been kindly sent home.
For media enquires, contact Think Centre spokesperson at.
Mr. Sinapan Samydorai
Director of ASEAN Affairs
Ms. Rachel Zeng
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign