Singapore v. Nair

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Criminal Charge

Date: 

05/31/2008

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Singapore

Disposition: 

Convicted

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Gopalan Nair, a U.S. citizen who blogs from Fremont, California, was arrested in Singapore for publishing insulting comments on his blog, Singapore Dissident, and in an email about two Singaporean judges. In May 2008, Nair, a former Singapore lawyer, attended a... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Gopalan Nair

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • Singapore

Location of Party: 

  • California

Legal Counsel: 

Chia Ti Lik
Description

Gopalan Nair, a U.S. citizen who blogs from Fremont, California, was arrested in Singapore for publishing insulting comments on his blog, Singapore Dissident, and in an email about two Singaporean judges.

In May 2008, Nair, a former Singapore lawyer, attended a hearing in a defamation suit brought against members of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew's son. On May 29, Nair wrote in his blog that the trial judge, Belinda Ang, "prostitut[ed] 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." In another blog entry, Nair also challenged the government to prosecute him, writing, "I am now within your jurisdiction.... What are you going to do about it?"

On May 31, Singaporean police arrested Nair for insulting Ang in an email, a crime under Section 13D (1)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance) Act. Nair was jailed until June 5, when he was released on bail. On June 12, the police filed a second charge against Nair under Section 228 of Singapore's Penal Code, which criminalizes "[i]ntentional insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding," for comments in an email he allegedly sent to Judge Lai Siu Chiu in March 2006. On June 16, the police amended the original charge against Nair to also fall under Section 228 of the Penal Code and to specify that the offense was written in Nair's blog, not in an email.

If convicted, Nair faces a fine of 5,000 Singapore dollars and up to one year in jail. Nair has said he will fight the charges.

Update:

9/17/2008 - Singapore Indian Voice is reporting that Nair has been convicted and sentenced to three months in prison by Judge Kan Ting Chiu.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Blog
Email

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • Criminal
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Singapore

Source of Law: 

  • Singapore

Court Name: 

Singapore High Court

Court Type: 

International