November 16, 2010 / 4:40 AM / 10 years ago

Singapore jails author 6 weeks for contempt

British author Alan Shadrake arrives at the Supreme Court in Singapore November 3, 2010. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s High Court sentenced 76-year-old British writer Alan Shadrake to six weeks in jail on Tuesday after finding him guilty of contempt of court for criticising the city-state’s judiciary.

High Court Judge Quentin Loh, who had ruled that Shadrake’s book on the country’s use of the death penalty had scandalised the court, also fined the author S$20,000 (9,572 pounds).

Shadrake will be jailed for an additional two weeks if he cannot pay the fine. He also has to pay costs of S$55,000.

Shadrake’s lawyers had asked the court for a lenient sentence of censure, while prosecutors had demanded a 12-week jail term.

In a written judgement two weeks ago, Loh said Shadrake had used a “selective background of truths and half-truths, and sometimes outright falsehoods” in his book, which he said accused Singapore judges of being influenced by executive and diplomatic pressures.

New York-based Human Rights Watch and other groups had urged Singapore to exonerate Shadrake.

Singapore, a small island-state of 5 million people, imposes the death penalty for crimes such as murder and a mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking. It boasts of one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Alex Richardson

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