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Singapore blogger found guilty of contempt for post criticizing anti-gay law

Singapore blogger found guilty of contempt for post criticizing anti-gay law

Singaporean LGBTI rights activist and blogger Alex Au has been found guilty of ‘scandalizing contempt’ for a post critical of the city’s anti-gay law.

The High Court ruled Thursday (22 January) that the article published in October 2013 posed ‘a real threat of undermining public confidence in the administration of justice in Singapore.’

‘I therefore find the respondent guilty of scandalizing contempt in respect of that article,’ Justice Belinda Ang wrote in her judgement.

The attorney-general accused Au, 61, of insinuating that the judiciary had rigged the dates of two constitutional challenges to Section 377A of the penal code, which punishes gay sex with up to two years in jail.

The city’s top court upheld the law in October.

Ang disagreed with the attorney-general that a second post, about an employee who said he was forced to resign because he was gay, was in contempt of court.

Au wrote on his Yawning Bread blog in October last year that he took the view his writings constituted fair criticism.

‘The function of the concept of fair criticism is to protect the individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression,’ he said.

LGBTI advocacy group Sayoni said they stood by Au and his right to freedom of speech.

‘We are in full support of Alex and his right to freedom of expression,’ co-founder Jean Chong told Gay Star News.

Au will be sentenced at a later date. Contempt of court carries possible jail time, a fine or both. No maximum penalty is specified under the constitution.