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British author convicted of contempt in Singapore court

(SEAPA/IFEX) - 3 November 2010 - The British author who wrote a critical book on Singapore's courts and the death penalty was found guilty of contempt on 3 November 2010, media reports said.

Alan Shadrake, 75 years old, claimed in his book, "Once a Jolly Hangman - Singapore Justice in the Dock", that there is lack of impartiality in death penalty cases in the city state's courts.

BBC online said the author's sentence will be announced next week. He is also facing defamation charges stemming from his controversial book.

Bloomberg online said contempt of court carries either a prison term or a fine or both.

BBC online quoted Justice Quentin Loh as saying, "This is a case about someone who says, among other things, the judges in Singapore are not impartial . . . (and are) influenced by political and economic situations and biased against the weak and the poor." The judge said that this might result in the book's readers losing confidence in Singapore's justice system.

Shadrake was arrested in July when he visited Singapore for the launching of his book.
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