SIN­GA­PORE BLOG­GER GRANTED U.S. ASY­LUM

Amos Yee, 18, was jailed twice af­ter in­sult­ing ex-PM Lee, re­li­gious groups

New Straits Times - - World -

SIN­GA­PORE

ALARS LUND, Pro­fes­sor at Odense Univer­sity Hospi­tal

SIN­GA­POREAN teenager who was jailed twice af­ter in­sult­ing the late leader Lee Kuan Yew and re­li­gious groups has been granted po­lit­i­cal asy­lum in the United States, his US lawyer said yes­ter­day.

Amos Yee, 18, shocked Sin­ga­pore­ans in March 2015 af­ter post­ing an ex­ple­tive-laden video at­tack­ing Lee as the found­ing prime min­is­ter’s death trig­gered a mas­sive out­pour­ing of grief.

He was jailed four weeks for hurt­ing the re­li­gious feel­ings of Chris­tians and post­ing an ob­scene im­age as part of his at­tacks on Lee, but served 50 days, in­clud­ing penal­ties for vi­o­lat­ing bail con­di­tions.

He was jailed again in 2016 for six weeks for in­sult­ing Mus­lims and Chris­tians in a se­ries of videos posted on­line, but crit­ics claim the real rea­son was to si­lence him.

“Yee has met his bur­den of showing that he suf­fered past per­se­cu­tion on ac­count of his po­lit­i­cal opin­ion and has a well­founded fear of fu­ture per­se­cu­tion in Sin­ga­pore,” US im­mi­gra­tion judge Sa­muel B. Cole said.

Cole said ev­i­dence “demon­strates Sin­ga­pore’s per­se­cu­tion of Yee was a pre­text to si­lence his po­lit­i­cal opin­ions crit­i­cal of the Sin­ga­pore gov­ern­ment”.

He also de­scribed Yee as a “young po­lit­i­cal dis­si­dent”.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion from Sin­ga­porean of­fi­cials to the de­ci­sion.

The US Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity had op­posed Yee’s asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion, say­ing he was legally pros­e­cuted by the Sin­ga­pore gov­ern­ment.

Yee, a film­maker turned ac­tivist, was de­tained by US au­thor­i­ties af­ter he ar­rived in Chicago air­port in De­cem­ber.

In his video at­tack­ing Lee, he com­pared the late leader to Je­sus, say­ing “they are both pow­er­hun­gry and ma­li­cious, but de­ceive oth­ers into think­ing they are com­pas­sion­ate and kind”.

It was watched hun­dreds of thousands of times be­fore be­ing taken down from Yee’s YouTube page. AFP

MARCH 26, 2017 (From top) Combo pictures showing the Syd­ney Opera House and Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge be­fore and dur­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of Earth Hour in Syd­ney yes­ter­day. Mil­lions of peo­ple in more than 172 coun­tries and 7,000 ci­ties and towns world­wide turned off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm as a sign of their com­mit­ment to re­duce global warming.

EPA PIC

Amos Yee leav­ing court in Sin­ga­pore last Au­gust.

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