Last year, 17-year-old Singaporean YouTuber Amos Yee was arrested and convicted of “wounding religious feelings” and “obscenity” after he made a video mocking Christianity and Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kwan Yew. Though he was handed a jail sentence of multiple weeks, the court awarded him “time served” for how long he had been in custody and basically let him go.
So he continued posting his videos.
Then, this past summer, they came after him again.
The 17-year-old was arrested on May 11 and released on bail of S$5,000.
Five of the charges Yee faces are for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Muslims, and one for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Christians. These charges are under Section 298 of the Penal Code.
I guess they didn’t like this video he posted back in April:
Or this one he posted after his arrest:
If convicted, Yee could have spent up to three years in jail in addition to a fine.
That’s why some free speech advocates are breathing a small sigh of relief today after Yee was hit with a jail sentence that’ll last just six weeks. Any amount of time is too much, but in this case, it could be so much worse. Yee also has to pay a fine of $2,000.
The 17-year-old was sentenced to six weeks’ jail and a $2,000 fine in total for eight charges — two for failing to turn up at a police station and six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.
“He has, on several occasions, deliberately elected to do harm by using offensive and insulting words and profane gestures to hurt the feelings of Christians and Muslims. His contemptuous and irreverent remarks have the tendency to generate social unrest and undermine the religious harmony in our society,” [Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun] said.
What a bullshit claim. Yee is critical of religion, period. Whether you find it unfair or annoying, he’s doing nothing wrong. Hurt feelings shouldn’t be a reason someone gets a jail sentence.
Hell, sending someone to jail for voicing their opinion deliberately offends me as someone who values free speech. Can someone send this judge to jail?
It just goes to show you how oppressive Singapore can be. The nation can’t handle religious criticism, and they’re facing someone who’s deliberately provocative. Every time he gets released on bail, he uploads more videos critical of religious faith and the Singaporean government (two sides of the same coin, really).
I hope he gets back in the saddle after this jail sentence ends. The more they come after him, the more incentive he has to push back even harder. More power to him.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier)