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US blogger to enjoy Singapore jail

3 months for insulting judge

A blogger who accused a Singapore judge of "prostituting herself" has been sentenced to three months' jail, AFP reports.

Former lawyer and US citizen Gopalan Nair, 58, made the ill-advised remark while commenting on a hearing "at which Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, testified in a defamation case they filed against an opposition party".

He claimed that Justice Belinda Ang Saw Ean was "prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders", according to court papers.

Nair duly found himself hauled before the courts on an insulting a public servant rap. He denied the charge, but Justice Kan Ting Chiu declared: "You have scandalised and attacked Justice Belinda Ang, the judiciary, and the system of administration of justice in Singapore. The rights of freedom of speech and expression are qualified and... do not entitle you to insult Justice Ang in the way that you have done."

Although Nair told AFP he was considering an appeal, he said: "I'm going to serve the sentence. I only wrote a blog. I didn't go out and kill anybody." He admitted his language could have been "a bit moderated".

The charge of insulting a public servant carries a maximum penalty of one year's jail and a fine of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,500), AFP notes. ®

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