Amos Yee, a teenage blogger and a YouTube personality from Singapore, was sentenced to 4 weeks imprisonment for posting offensive content online.
The affair started in March 2015, when Yee posted a video on YouTube titled: “Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!”, criticising the former Prime Minister of Singapore, who had died only a few days earlier. Yee made a comparison between the late Prime Minister and Jesus, depicting both figures as negative power-seekers. Yee’s video was deemed offensive towards the former Prime Minister as well as Christianity.
On a separate occasion, Yee went even further and uploaded a caricature of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, engaging in a sexual act with Lee. Yee’s uploaded content has led to no less than 32 police reports, including a police report filed against him by his own mother.
Yee was charged under the Singaporean Penal Code with the “intention of wounding the religious feeling of Christians”, along with obscenity. During his trial, Yee repeatedly violated his bail conditions by posting blog posts on which he questioned his bail terms and criticized his father.
On May 2015, Yee was convicted and sentenced to four weeks in jail. He was released the same day as his sentence was backdated to include the 53 days that he had already spent in remand.
Human rights organizations criticized the conviction for overly restricting the freedom of expression. In view of the criticism, District Judge Jasvender Kaur, who presided over the case, was quoted by The Malay Mail as saying that although Yee’s offences were “not the most serious offences, they are not trivial ones”.
On July 9, Yee appealed against both his conviction and sentence with the High Court. In light of the religious character of the charges, Yee’s lawyers requested to be heard by a non-Christian judge. His appeal is still pending.