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Magazine to pay prime minister and his father S$405,000 in damages and cost for defamation

(SEAPA/IFEX) - The "Far Eastern Economic Review" (FEER), which is scheduled to fold in December 2009, has agreed to pay Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew a total of S$405,000 (approx. US$290,000) in damages and costs for defamation, media reports said.

"The Straits Times" quoted the lawyers of the Lees as saying that a consent order to this effect was entered in the High Court on 13 November.

Review Publishing Company, which publishes FEER, and FEER editor Hugo Restall, have agreed to pay PM Lee S$200,000 in damages and S$30,000 in legal costs. They also agreed to pay MM Lee S$150,000 in damages and S$25,000 in costs.

In October, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier High Court decision that FEER had defamed both leaders in a 2006 article.

The appeal was heard by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, Appeal Judge Andrew Phang and Justice Judith Prakash.

On 17 November, a Dow Jones spokesman issued a statement saying they strongly disagree with the ruling but conceded that "having waged this battle for press freedom to Singapore's highest court, we are now resolving this case rather than engaging in a protracted damages process."

Singapore's High Court handled the case against FEER by summary judgment, as requested by the Lees. In this Singaporean judicial mechanism, the court makes a ruling without the case going to trial.

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