July 8, 2015 –
Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez has endorsed a new statement by Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, urging Singapore to review the decision to sentence a 16-year old blogger to four weeks in prison for posting a video and a caricature of Singapore’s founder Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
“Condemning an adolescent to prison for expressing his opinion is clearly unacceptable according to international standards for freedom of expression and for the rights of the child,” Mr. Kaye said, while welcoming this week’s release of the blogger, who already served more than one month in custody, reportedly under harsh conditions which affected his health. Mr. Kaye warned of the “deterrent effect” on others in Singapore as regards criticism of public figures the government. He also emphasized that international standards protect individual freedom of expression from penalty on the basis of alleged insult to a public figure, insisting that “openness to all forms of criticism is always to be expected in the necessary debate on present or past public figures, no matter how revered by the public.”
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