Singapore drops charges against cartoonist

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Leslie ChewSingapore has dropped charges against a satirical political cartoonist that was accused of acting in contempt of court for lampooning the justice system in a sketch. The one condition for dropping charges – the cartoonist, named Leslie Chew, must make a public apology.

The charges focused on four cartoons posted on a Facebook page that Chew maintains called “Demon-cratic Singapore.” Three of these cartoons mocked the perceived unfairness of the justice system. For this, the Singapore Attorney General charged Chew with “scandalising the judiciary of the Republic of Singapore.” These charges could have resulted in jail time.

The AG appears to have changed his mind, however, and issued the following statement:  “Following a request initiated by counsel for Mr. Leslie Chew, the Attorney-General’s Chambers has today agreed not to pursue the contempt proceedings against him if the comic strips in question are taken down, with an apology and undertaking prominently posted on the Demon-cratic Singapore Facebook page.”

Pro-Democracy groups rallied around Chew after he was charged last month, and accused the Singapore government of attempting to muzzle free speech. As a rising international city-state with a cosmopolitan culture and an open and inviting business environment, it seemed out of character for Singapore to react so harshly to such mild, whimsical dissent. Hopefully the country has learned from this experience and will tolerate future dissent with more grace, as is fitting for a city of its stature.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Singapore has dropped charges against a satirical political cartoonist that was accused of acting in contempt of court for lampooning the justice system in a sketch. The one condition for dropping charges – the cartoonist, named Leslie Chew, must make a public apology.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Leslie ChewSingapore has dropped charges against a satirical political cartoonist that was accused of acting in contempt of court for lampooning the justice system in a sketch. The one condition for dropping charges – the cartoonist, named Leslie Chew, must make a public apology.

The charges focused on four cartoons posted on a Facebook page that Chew maintains called “Demon-cratic Singapore.” Three of these cartoons mocked the perceived unfairness of the justice system. For this, the Singapore Attorney General charged Chew with “scandalising the judiciary of the Republic of Singapore.” These charges could have resulted in jail time.

The AG appears to have changed his mind, however, and issued the following statement:  “Following a request initiated by counsel for Mr. Leslie Chew, the Attorney-General’s Chambers has today agreed not to pursue the contempt proceedings against him if the comic strips in question are taken down, with an apology and undertaking prominently posted on the Demon-cratic Singapore Facebook page.”

Pro-Democracy groups rallied around Chew after he was charged last month, and accused the Singapore government of attempting to muzzle free speech. As a rising international city-state with a cosmopolitan culture and an open and inviting business environment, it seemed out of character for Singapore to react so harshly to such mild, whimsical dissent. Hopefully the country has learned from this experience and will tolerate future dissent with more grace, as is fitting for a city of its stature.

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