Teenage blogger Amos Yee has been handed a prison sentence by a court in Singapore for being critical of Islam. Amos was accused of ‘wounding religious feelings’ and has been sentenced to a six-week jail term after he pleaded guilty to six different charges. The 17-year-old has also been ordered to pay a fine of Singapore dollar 2,000.
In July 2015, Yee was sentenced to four-week jail term for criticising Christians. He was accused of insulting Lee Kuan Yew after he posted a video titled ‘Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead’ - becoming one of the few Singaporean voices openly criticising Lee's legacy.
Yee’s trial was attended by officials from the UN Human Rights Council and the European Union, and was also closely watched by rights groups. Interestingly, Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch (HRW) was seen toeing government’s line and said that the country needs to have stricter laws to prevent the publicity that offenders gain from the trial. "Every time the authorities go after him, it just adds to his online audience," said Mr Robertson.
However, it is highly unlikely that HRW, which enjoys close relations with authoritarian governments in the Middle East and is funded by prominent members of Saudi society, would take a similar line when one 'offends' religions other than Islam and Christianity.
Freedom of speech is becoming a distant dream. Those criticising Islam are not just being targeted by Islamists, but also by their allies in 'human right' groups.
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