In what is been seen as a curtailment of freedom of speech in Singapore, a teenager from the country was arrested after he uploaded a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father. According to the New York Times, 17-year-old Amos Yee was arrested a day after he made an eight-minute-long video that celebrated the death of Singapore’s founding father. He also reportedly made offensive remarks against the Christian community in Singapore.
On Monday, officials from Singapore confirmed the arrest of Amos Yee, who has been described as a video blogger. Amos is due to appear in court on Tuesday, and if found guilty, could end up spending three years in prison. He has been charged under a section of the Singaporean law that deals with religious freedom and tolerance. Under Singaporean law, any individual found guilty of insulting religions, sharing obscene material, and offending religious sentiments of its citizens could be imprisoned for up to three years.
In the nearly nine-minute long video that Amos Yee uploaded to YouTube, he criticized Lee Kuan Yew and expressed delight at his death.
“Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!” the teenager had typed in and briefly posted an obscene image on his personal blog and on Facebook.
The video posted by Amos quickly went viral, and once the controversy flared up, it was made private — probably by the teen himself. However, there were several people who were able to download the YouTube video and upload it again. In the video, Amos is seen upset with the cult of personality that Lee Kuan Yew commanded for himself. He also believed that “Lee Kuan Yew was a horrible person” and added that several other people in Singapore shared his opinions but were too scared to publicly post what they felt. In the video, Amos also claims that he is “not afraid” and even challenged Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue him.
According to initial reports, it was a Singaporean lawyer named Chia Boon Teck who filed a complaint against the teenager.
The lawyer also wrote to newspapers in the country, saying, “There is a limit to freedom of expression.”
While several people have rallied in support of the teenage blogger, several other patriotic Singaporeans believe officials did the right thing by arresting Amos Yee.
Over the course of the past few years, there have been several reports of people being arrested for “offensive” social media posts. Back in 2012, two girls were arrested in India after they made a Facebook post following a shutdown in their state after the death of a prominent politician. Do you think Amos Yee’s arrest was warranted?
[Image via ChannelNews Asia]