Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 16:06 GMT

Blogger Gopalan Nair gets three months in prison for insulting judge

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 18 September 2008
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Blogger Gopalan Nair gets three months in prison for insulting judge, 18 September 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d34e2819.html [accessed 21 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Reporters Without Borders condemns the three-month prison sentence which a Singapore court imposed yesterday on blogger Gopalan Nair for insulting a high court judge in a blog entry. A Singaporean lawyer who became a US citizen in 2005, Nair plans to file an appeal on 20 September, the day he is due to begin serving his prison sentence.

"This sentence is disproportionate," Reporters Without Borders said. "Nair was given the severest sentence possible under the criminal code for insult. We urge the judicial authorities to be reasonable and to reverse this decision to send a blogger to prison."

Nair's trial under article 228 of the criminal code began on 10 September. He defended himself.

During the first hearing, Nair denied allegations that he had sent emails to Belinda Ang, the high court judge he was accused of insulting, and to another judge. "What I wrote on my blog is addressed to the whole world," he said. He also accused the police of taking his notebook containing the password to his email account and blog.

Nair, 58, was arrested in Singapore on 31 May under article 13 (d) of the Miscellaneous offences Act) and was charged four days later with "sedition" (http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/) for criticising Ang and another judge, Lai Siew Chiu, for their handling of a defamation case that resulted in Chee Soon Juan, the head of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, spending 12 days in prison (and his sister, Siok Chin, spending 10 days in prison).

Nair was freed on bail on 5 June pending trial. His blog is still accessible in Singapore.

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