SINGAPORE BLOGGER GRANTED U.S. ASYLUM
Amos Yee, 18, was jailed twice after insulting ex-PM Lee, religious groups
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.
Amos Yee leaving court in Singapore last August.