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Singapore 17 June 2008

US blogger Gopalan Nair still waiting the outcome of trial

Reporters Without Borders today repeated a call for charges to be dropped against US lawyer, Gopalan Nair, who appeared before a court here on 12 June and again today after he was accused by judges Belinda Ang Saw Ean and Lai Siew Chiu of “insulting a public servant” for which he faces one year in prison.

“This trial is a farce. Gopalan Nair appeared today before one of the plaintiffs herself”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

The 58-year old was on 4 June accused of “sedition”, for posting articles on his blog criticising the Supreme Court handling, by the two judges, of a defamation case that ended in the head of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chee Soon Juan, and his sister, Siok Chin being sentenced respectively to 12 and 10 days in prison.

The 12 June hearing dropped one charge against the blogger that he had insulted the judge, Lai Siew Chiu by email by accusing him of corruption.

Nair had said, “What I wrote on my blog is addressed to the whole world. I was accused of sending emails to the judge Belinda Ang and another, but it’s not true (...). police seized my notebook with the password for my email as well as that of my blog”.

The case of “insulting” Belinda Ang Saw was heard today with the judge herself presiding over the hearing.

Nair was arrested in Singapore, on 31 May, under Article 13D of the Miscellaneous Offences Act over his criticism towards the judge. His blog is still accessible in Singapore. Calling for the charges to be dropped, Reporters Without Borders pointed out that the judges had already had Nair reporting daily to the police.

In this country
26 November - Singapore
Wall Street Journal Asia unjustly found in contempt of court and fined
18 September - Singapore
Blogger Gopalan Nair gets three months in prison for insulting judge
5 June - Singapore
US blogger freed on bail
23 April - Singapore
Government urged to lift ban on film about journalist imprisoned for 17 years
24 November - Singapore
Blogger belonging to democratic party jailed for ten days

in the annual report
Singapore - Annual report 2008
Singapore - Annual report 2007

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Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised