Singapore teen blogger Amos Yee sentenced to four weeks’ jail

Amos Yee leaves the State Courts with his mother after his trial in Singapore, May 12, 2015. — Reuters pic
Amos Yee leaves the State Courts with his mother after his trial in Singapore, May 12, 2015. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, July 6 — Teenage blogger Amos Yee was today sentenced to four weeks’ jail, backdated to June 2. This means he will be freed today.

The hearing for his sentencing was held this afternoon.

Amos, 16, was convicted of posting an obscene image online and posting content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians after a two-day trial earlier this year.

Today, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun told the court that the case against Amos is not about the freedom of speech and the diversity of views. “It is about the abuse of these freedoms,” said Hay. “Each society defines its own values and protects them. Religious harmony remains a key value in our society.”

He said that under Singapore’s laws, “lines are drawn against acts that deliberately wound religious feelings and against the publication of images that have a tendency to deprave and corrupt”.

“Amos Yee crossed those lines with deliberation and calculation. His actions led to his conviction,” said Hay. Nevertheless, the noted a “seismic shift” in Amos’ attitude and sought only a one-day jail term.

Defence lawyer Alfred Dodwell said Amos is remorseful over what happened. He said that a doctor from Raffles Hospital agreed to take Amos under his charge. Dodwell told the media that they will be appealing against both convictions and the sentencing.

In sentencing, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said she took into account Yee’s age.

Amos has been remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for the past two weeks to assess his suitability for a mandatory treatment order, after a doctor said that Amos may have autism-spectrum disorder.

Amos had been remanded in Changi Prison since June 2 for an assessment on whether he is suited for reformative training, after he rejected the option of probation.

Hours before today’s hearing started, members of the public as well as international media waited outside the courtroom. Members of the public were given queue tickets to sit in the hearing. By 2.30pm, the courtroom was filled.

Amos looked at the ground most of the time during the hearing, occasionally lifting his head. He appeared frail and was expressionless during the entire hearing.

Amos’ parents looked relieved upon hearing the verdict from the court. — TODAY

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