Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Action Against Cartoonist Dropped

Update: 6 Aug 2013 

Singapore cartoonist apologises over satirical strip

A Singapore cartoonist facing jail time over satirical comic strips depicting the city-state’s courts as biased had proceedings against him dropped on today after he made an official apology.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said it would no longer pursue contempt of  court charges against Leslie Chew, 37, after he apologised and removed four  offending cartoon strips from his “Demon-cratic Singapore” Facebook page.

“In light of that apology and undertaking, as well as the fact that the  offending comic strips have been taken down, the Attorney-General’s Chambers  has determined that it is not necessary to continue the contempt proceedings,”  the AGC said in a statement.

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Singapore drops sedition charges against political cartoonist Leslie Chew

One of political cartoonist Leslie Chew's most recent comics, published on his Facebook page "Demon-cratic Singapore". (Picture from Demon-cratic Facebook)
Yahoo! Newsroom - One of political cartoonist Leslie Chew's most recent comics, published on his Facebook page "Demon-cratic Singapore". (Picture from Demon-cratic Facebook)

Singapore’s state prosecutor has decided not to pursue sedition charges against political cartoonist Leslie Chew

It will, however, still be proceeding with four contempt of court charges for four comics Chew published between 2011 and last year, the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ said in a statement on Monday.

Chew, who is behind the "Demon-Cratic Singapore" Facebook page that houses a wide range of politically-nuanced comics, was arrested in April for police investigations into possible offences under Singapore's Sedition Act, which outlaws acts "with a tendency to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different races or classes" among its people.

related:

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You have missed the point, Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister, your people meet with dismay the news that Leslie Chew has been charged with contempt of court for his political cartoons. At this moment, as the news spreads across the island, we citizens are acutely aware that there is little we could do to call you to a gentler response.

The people of our country, yours and mine, are worried for our future. As our young families struggle to meet the costs of their homes and their children’s education; as our best and brightest lose their jobs and their hope in our country and flee abroad; as our middle-aged approach their retirement with trepidation, and as more and more of our aged are reduced to begging or selling tissue paper to survive, we call out to your government with the means at our disposal. But you respond neither with compassion nor with respect but with the manacles of the law.

Many years ago, your father began the process of pruning our civic space. He took the televisions and newspapers under government control so that only the best of the news might be published. He restrained the universities and polytechnics so that awkward subjects might not be examined and students might be quelled. He deployed the Internal Security Act and tortured his opponents. And every so often he sued and bankrupted the politicians so as to remind us of the danger of speaking in our own behalf and that of our neighbours and friends.

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Singapore Won’t Charge Cartoonist for Alleged Racial Insensitivity


Artist Leslie Chew posts on his Facebook what he describes as a “totally fictional comic” strip about a fictional place, one frame of which is pictured here

Singapore prosecutors said Monday they won’t pursue charges against a local artist over cartoons he drew that a citizen charged were racially insensitive and that might fall foul of the city-state’s tough anti-sedition laws.

Leslie Chew, 37, had been under police investigation for alleged sedition since April after a member of the public complained about a series of cartoons he drew for his Internet comic strip. He was released on police bail on April 21 pending possible charges.

After reviewing police findings submitted late May, the Attorney-General’s Chambers decided that “no further action will be taken against Leslie Chew for any offense” under laws barring acts that could fan racial or religious hostilities, the agency said in a statement.

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AGC drops action under Sedition Act against cartoonist Leslie Chew

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said following a review of evidence in investigation papers, the Public Prosecutor had determined that no further action be taken against Chew for any offence under the Sedition Act. The statement added that Chew was informed of the decision earlier on Monday. His police bail will be allowed to lapse and his passport will be returned to him.

The Attorney-General's Chambers ("AGC") has completed its review of the investigation papers relating to Chew Peng Ee, also known as Leslie Chew.

Leslie Chew was arrested on 19 April 2013 as part of investigations into whether he had committed offences under the Sedition Act in connection with his publication of the comic series "Demon-cratic Singapore" on Facebook. He was released on bail on 21 April 2013 and has remained on bail since.

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AGC drops action against Leslie Chew under Sedition Act but continues with contempt-of-court proceedings

In a statement today (29 Jul), the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it has completed its review of the investigation papers relating to cartoonist Mr Chew and decided not to take action against him under the Sedition Act.

Mr Chew was arrested on 19 April 2013 as part of investigations into whether he had committed offences under the Sedition Act in connection with his publication of the comic series “Demon-cratic Singapore” on Facebook. He was released on bail on 21 April 2013.

AGC said, “Having reviewed the evidence in the investigation papers submitted by the Police to AGC in late May 2013, the Public Prosecutor has determined in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion that no further action will be taken against Leslie Chew for any offence under section 4(1)(a) read with section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act.”

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My One Singaporean Political Cartoon in Honor of Leslie Chew

http://www.baldingsworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Temasek-Cartoon.png

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Leslie Chew vs his demons, Round One: victory for common sense

The government has announced that it will not charge "Demon-cratic Singapore" cartoonist Leslie Chew with sedition. The decision of the Attorney-General's Chambers is spot on – notwithstanding the wishes of a grand total of 140 individuals who signed a petition asking the government to throw the book at him. As this blog pleaded three months ago, if the government feared that Chew's criticism of its race policies would have any traction, it should respond with arguments, not force.

Chew is not off the hook yet. While the Sedition Act won't be used against him, he has committed contempt of court, the AGC says. His fate now hinges partly on how the court reads the law on scandalising the judiciary. Singapore has traditionally taken a tough line. Recall how three activists were jailed five years ago for wearing t-shirts emblazoned with kangaroos in judges' robes.

Since then, however, the courts' thinking has evolved. In the Alan Shadrake case, the Court of Appeal applied a more liberal "real risk" test for the first time. Shadrake's conviction was upheld, so the shift in thinking was barely noticed beyond legal circles. Chew's lawyers, M. Ravi and Choo Zheng Xi, may ask the court to refine its thinking further and rule that – regardless of how inherently insulting the cartoons may have been – Chew does not merit a jail term or fine.

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Right Move By AG, Quah Kim Song Scores Again



The AG is also Public Prosecutor and is assisted in prosecuting cases by a team of DPPs and APPs. However in certain cases like Sedition, his sanction is required for prosecution

A degree of common sense prevailed when the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) decided against charging cartoonist Leslie Chew for publishing cartoons deemed  possibly as offences under the Sedition Act. 

http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/agc-to-take-no-further-action-against-leslie-chew-under-sedition-act 

I am wary of the need to have a Sedition Act (Chapter 290) in the 1st place. This one of those laws or acts that has 'an infinite grab all' look about it. Under this act a seditious tendency and consequently a seditious offence, is deemed amongst other things as follows:

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Singapore Charges Cartoonist for Alleged Contempt of Court

Singapore prosecutors are pursuing charges against a local artist for alleged contempt of court over cartoons he drew that authorities say had scandalized the judiciary.

Leslie Chew, 37, has been under police investigation since April for potential wrongdoing in several cartoons he drew for his Internet comic strip. The Attorney-General’s Chambers this week launched formal legal proceedings against Mr. Chew over five of his cartoons, the agency said Thursday in a statement.

The proceedings are “aimed at protecting the administration of justice… and upholding the integrity of one of our key public institutions,” the agency said. Singapore’s High Court accepted the application in relation to four cartoons and set the next hearing Aug. 12.

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Singapore seen getting tough on dissent as cartoonist charged

Singapore government lawyers have started legal proceedings that could result in a political cartoonist serving a jail term, in another sign that the long-ruling People's Action Party (PAP) is becoming increasingly intolerant of opponents, critics said.

Chew Peng Ee, known to followers of his "Demon-cratic Singapore" site on Facebook as Leslie Chew, had committed contempt of court "by scandalising the judiciary of the Republic of Singapore", the Attorney-General's Chambers said in a statement on Thursday.

The charges stemmed from four cartoons that Chew had published in 2011 and 2012, three of which were about the perceived unfairness of the courts when imposing punishment. His case will be heard on Aug. 12.

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Chew on these petitions

Now this is something to chew on: the commencement of legal proceedings on Thursday against cartoonist Mr Leslie Chew has led to several online petitions.

Let’s start with the one urging the G to stop all legal action against Mr Chew. As of today, 727 supporters have signed the petition. Strange, given that The Online Citizen (TOC) had posted it on their own FB page, with the post getting 310 likes and 32 shares. So why has the FB support not translated to more signatures on the petition? Reading through the comments, some signatures stand out.

For example, “Paul Ananth Tambyah” said: “It is a sad day indeed for Singapore when a cartoonist is charged for his art.” Could this be the same Dr Paul Ananth Tambyah who has been involved with the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and is a member of its Healthcare Advisory Panel?

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The Words You Can’t Say in Singapore

The most telling thing about the Leslie Chew case is the general unimportance of his actions.  When I write this, I mean absolutely no disrespect to Leslie Chew.  Rather, I am talking about perspective.

The Singaporean government judiciary will bring far more scorn, mockery, and publicity upon itself by pursuing this case than ignoring it.

It is also an amazingly cowardly act.  Leslie Chew a Singapore resident wrote some mocking political cartoons, something that would in most every country not ranked 149th globally in press freedoms, would be ignored.

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AGC DOES MORE DAMAGE TO COURTS THAN LESLIE CHEW 

Every citizen of Singapore ought to feel deeply unsettled by the investigation and prosecution of cartoonist Leslie Chew. The case only strengthens my opinion about the Singapore legal system, building on my time researching the political history of the city-state, including the actions that the state has taken against members of the SDP.

A charge of contempt of court levied against Mr Chew indicates that the Attorney General ‘s Chambers (AGC) feels that Mr Chew’s cartoons have undermined the authority and integrity of a judge and/or the courts. The need to protect against contempt of court stems from the judiciary’s role as arbiter and administrator of justice.

In Singapore, this need even overrides the constitutional right to free speech.* The court protects your rights, the thinking goes, so to protect the court we must limit your rights. Try wrapping your head around that one.

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Cartoonist Leslie Chew in contempt of court


Worse than wearing the F word

Despite his arrest for sedition earlier this year, Chew continued to mock this ‘fictional’ country’s government while other artists in his plight would have toned down the political barbs or stopped drawing altogether. In the 3 Jan 2012 strip, the AGC may have taken offence to the use of the term ‘Kangaroo Court’ and the suggestion that the courts give preferential treatment to celebrities when they get into trouble, in this case ‘Quan Feng Feng’. Just a week prior to this, Mediacorp host Quan Yifeng was sentenced to 15 months’ probation for trashing a taxi, citing mental illness in her defence. Chew may be talented with colouring pencils but subtlety is clearly not his forte. For one, he tweaked the name of every character but left ‘Singapore’ intact.

Blogger Alex Au of Yawning Bread was lucky to escape with an apology and removal of his post for likewise SCANDALISING the courts by suggesting that another celebrity, plastic surgeon Woffles Wu, was let off easy after getting an elderly scapegoat to take the rap for his speeding offence. Incidentally, Chew also took a swipe at the Woffles (or rather, Waffles) Wu verdict in his 16 July 12 post.

Does a picture paint a thousand contemptuous words here? Or perhaps it’s the ‘Kangaroo Court’ jibe that got the AGC hopping mad. In 2008, a trio wearing kangaroo T-shirts to the Supreme court were slapped with jail terms up to 15 days for ‘scandalising the Singapore judiciary’, their depiction of the proverbial marsupial in judges’ robes considered the ‘worst insult possible’. Worse than calling the law ‘stupid’ or a ‘senile old fart’ perhaps?

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Demon-cratic's Buttocks Thumped, Again

Once more with feeling! Poor Leslie Chew is getting famous once more. Not sedition but contempt of court! SDP is bound to back their favourite cartoonist as they have done so in the past. Why is AGC out to thump Demon-cratic again? Two simple reasons. The earlier sedition charges were not punitive enough and the cartoons did not stop or at least tone down despite the obvious warning to Leslie to stay low.

Hence, if Demon-cratic was dumb enough to be stubborn, urged on by his fans, friends and SDP for all we know, AGC is going to take action for the Super White and fine and/or jail Leslie to scare the monkeys. Too bad for Leslie but it is all good for him as he wants to be a rebel. It gives his defiant cartoons more street cred and omph. But why pick Leslie and not the others?  Also why now? Hmmm part of the broader hard touching of some but not others in the Internet?

BTW Anti-death penalty UK citizen Alan Shadrake was sentenced 6 weeks jail and fined $20,000 for scandalising the judiciary.  I'm not a big fan of Demon-cratic's lame messages compared to other cartoonists, also because he used software rather than hand draw like the others, so popcorn out, watching the show and waiting to see what would happen to Leslie. Nothing good I bet! I think 3 weeks and $10,000 fine. Gulp.

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SINGAPOREANS SHOWING SOLIDARITY WITH LESLIE CHEW

Many Singaporeans have been following the events following Cartoonist Leslie Chew's arrest in April. It has now been revealed, after months of investigations and repeatedly extended bail, that he will be charged with contempt of court.

Singapore prosecutors are pursuing charges against a local artist for alleged contempt of court over cartoons he drew that authorities say had scandalized the judiciary.

Leslie Chew, 37, has been under police investigation since April for potential wrongdoing in several cartoons he drew for his Internet comic strip. The Attorney-General’s Chambers this week launched formal legal proceedings against Mr. Chew over five of his cartoons, the agency said Thursday in a statement

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Singapore Government: Stop all legal action against Leslie Chew

Singapore Government: Stop all legal action against Leslie Chew

We can no longer stand by and allow the Singapore Government to smother free speech and expression. Just because they do not agree, does not mean that they can use their legal prowess and the people's money to oppress individuals and shut them up. We need alternative opinions, to have discussions, to learn to make our own judgements about what is right and wrong in order to grow as a nation. We will no longer be coddled and treated like an impressionable child. We will no longer be oppressed.

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The People Will Rise Up Stronger

http://thehearttruths.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/leslie-and-me-coloured-with-words.jpg

You want us to trust you
But you break it at every turn
Do you know not trust is earned
And gotten in return?

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Bloggers and netizens unite

All of us should now be familiar with the case of Leslie Chew, the cartoonist of Demoncratic, being sued for contempt of the judiciary. TRE has posted a couple of articles on this and a call for donation to Leslie Chew to pay for his legal fees.

There are many reasons offered on why everyone should support Leslie Chew and also why is this very necessary. Some even suggested turning this into a fund for future use exactly for such cases when bloggers are sued for engaging in such ‘nefarious’ activities like blogging on social and political issues that are important to every citizen of this City.

It is only prudent to expect seeing more of Sue and more bloggers needing funds to defend themselves when Sue is now the number one darling of people who are unhappy with what appears in the social media.

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