The Media Development Authority said it viewed British freelance journalist Alan Shadrake’s recently released book on the death penalty in Singapore Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock as being in contempt of court.
He was arrested on July 18 at his hotel room, a day after his book was launched and is being investigated by the police for criminal defamation, an offence which carries a maximum two-year jail term and a fine. On the same day, the Attorney-General’s Chambers served court papers to bring contempt proceedings against him.
On July 30 he was brought to court for contempt for the attacks on the independence and integrity of Singapore’s judiciary in passages of his book.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers had earlier asked twice, on July 28 and 30, if he was prepared to apologize to the court.
“An apology tendered to the Court, if unqualified and sincere, may mitigate the punishment that the Court may impose on a person who is found to be in contempt,” noted the Attorney-General’s Chambers in a background note on its website.
But Shadrake, 75, is adamant in continuing the fight against the death penalty.
On July 30, he said “You must be joking. I will never apologize, I will never say sorry. If I say sorry, what would you think of me? What would everybody think of me?
“I didn’t do this to chicken out, say sorry and grovel to them like Singaporeans mostly have to do to lead a normal life.”
He added “I am going to carry on this fight, and I am going to carry on the anti- death penalty campaign.
“I didn’t spend three years writing this book and then run away from it.
I’m not a wimp, I’m not a coward, I want to have my day in court.”
Well, it looks like once a jolly author is quite happy to be a jolly jailbird.
Good, Mr Shadrake, Singaporeans who are wimps and cowards like me who “grovel to them” can’t wait to see you fight to the very end. Go ahead, make our day. Knock yourself out. Show us what a superhero you are. You think you’ve got balls? We’ll see. And please don’t bother about what we think of you whether you say sorry or not – oh we know what to think of you alright.