Media & Communications Law

Author Gets 6-Week Contempt Term for 'Jolly Hangman' Book re Singapore Justice System


A British author’s appeal of a contempt finding and six-week jail sentence for writing a book critical of the Singapore justice system has been unsuccessful.

After the Singapore Court of Appeal’s affirmation of the sentence today, which also includes a fine of about $16,000 in U.S. dollars, author Alan Shadrake was philosophical, Bloomberg reports.

Because he can’t afford to pay the fine, Shadrake predicts he’ll have to to serve another two weeks. But he says he’s not sorry he published Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore’s Justice in the Dock. The book contends that Singapore’s justice system is politicized and favors the well-to-do.

“If I’m a good boy, I’ll be in remission and out in five weeks,” says Shadrake, who has been based in Malaysia and was arrested in a hotel room.

In a November ruling, the Singapore High Court criticized the book for allegedly including “half-truths and selective facts; sometimes even outright falsehoods.”

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