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U.S. Blogger Sentenced to Three Months in Singapore Jail

Thursday, 18 Sep 2008 01:13 PM

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SINGAPORE — An American blogger has been sentenced to three months' jail for accusing a Singapore judge of "prostituting herself."

"I think I will appeal," Gopalan Nair, 58, told Agence French Presse.

An official with the Supreme Court did not provide details but confirmed the sentence, which was issued Wednesday.

Local newspapers said Nair was given until Saturday to settle his affairs before he is taken to prison.

"I'm going to serve the sentence," Nair said, adding he has no regrets. "I only wrote a blog. I didn't go out and kill anybody."

In his blog, Nair had criticised a legal hearing at which Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, testified in a defamation case they filed against an opposition party.

Nair was charged with insulting Justice Belinda Ang Saw Ean by saying she was "prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders," a court document said.

Justice Ang presided over the defamation hearing. Nair, a former Singapore lawyer and now a US citizen, had denied the charge of insulting a public servant.

"You have scandalised and attacked Justice Belinda Ang, the judiciary, and the system of administration of justice in Singapore," Justice Kan Ting Chiu said in sentencing Nair, according to a report in The Straits Times.

"The rights of freedom of speech and expression are qualified and... do not entitle you to insult Justice Ang in the way that you have done."

While he had no regrets, Nair told AFP that maybe his language could have been "a bit moderated."

Nair could have been jailed for up to one year and fined 5,000 Singapore dollars (3,500 US) on the charge of insulting a public servant.

Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse

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