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Singapore activist, politician convicted for criticising judiciary

AFP  |  Singapore 

A Singaporean activist and an opposition were Tuesday found guilty of contempt of court for seperate posts criticising the country's judiciary.

and human rights activist wrote a post in April saying that judges in neighbouring were more independent than their counterparts in on cases with political implications.

He had made the observation as he commented on a legal challenge filed by a Malaysian portal against that country's law against fake

Singapore's Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) initiated contempt of court proceedings against Wham for scandalising the judiciary.

John Tan, a with the opposition Democratic Party, was also charged with contempt after he wrote a post saying that the AGC's actions against Wham proved that his comments were true.

Wham and Tan argued that their comments constituted fair criticism and were covered under the constitutional provisions for free speech and expression.

Lih however disagreed and convicted the pair.

"Wham's post impugned the integrity and impartiality of Singapore's judges, and thus the courts," Woo said, adding it meant that local judges "are not completely independent and are partial to the government".

The post also "posed risk that public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined," the said.

Woo said allegations in Tan's post "were not supported by argument and evidence" and "not made in good faith and did not constitute fair criticism of a court". Sentencing will be passed on another date.

While Singapore is admired for its economic prosperity, it is regularly criticised by rights groups for tough rules on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Last year, the AGC began contempt proceedings against Li Shengwu, a grandson of modern Singapore's founding father and a nephew of the for a Facebook post in which he said the government was "very litigious and has a pliant court system".

The AGC had described his post as "an egregious and baseless attack on the Singapore Judiciary and constitutes an offence of contempt of court".

Anyone found guilty of contempt could be fined up to SGD 100,000 (USD 72,141) or jailed for up to three years, or both.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, October 09 2018. 16:30 IST