Breaking news: Amos Yee :World’s Youngest Prisoner of Conscience to be recognised by Amnesty International
At the beginning of this month I started exchanging correspondence with some contacts in Amnesty International sharing my view that Amos was a prisoner of conscience. I am delighted to say that after monitoring and considering the situation they have just written to me to say that they concur. Amnesty International will recognise Amos Yee as a prisoner of Conscience. Amos Yee does fulfil their criteria because his actions, though offensive, should not have been criminalised.
This is the email I just received from my friends at AI:
Well, the IS has considered it and judge that he is indeed a POC by Amnesty’s definition. What he said falls under the kind of edgy and sharp expression of opinions that may annoy or insult, but it was peacefully said and doesn’t fall under the definition of incitement etc and is not grounds for criminalization. WE will speak out and expect to issue a statement ahead of the 23 June court hearing.
XXXX Redacted XXXXXXXXX
Warmest wishes, xxxx
This puts Amos in the same company as Aung Ang Suu Kyi and other international figures. Most recent prisoners of conscience as would be expected, come from places like, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Bahrain. What excellent company we keep. Here is how Amnesty describes a prisoner of conscience.
“Amnesty International campaigns for the release of prisoners of conscience – people who have been jailed because of their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status, provided that they have neither used nor advocated violence.
Amnesty International has championed the rights of prisoners of conscience since the organization’s founding in 1961, and thousands of prisoners of conscience have been released from jail following action on their behalf by Amnesty International.”
Amnesty will also be speaking out and will issue a statement before the hearing. So perhaps there is some hope that international pressure can be brought to bear to get Amos released before he is harmed any more than he has been.
Wikipedia describes a prisoner of conscience thus : ” Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by Peter Benenson in a 28 May 1961 article (“The Forgotten Prisoners“) for the London Observer newspaper. Most often associated with the human rights organisation Amnesty International, the term can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, or political views. It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs”
Before I got this email I had been reading the letter that Alfred Dodwell, Amos’s lawyer, had sent today to Justice Jasvender Kaur. It makes me feel ashamed to be a Singaporean to read about the wanton and deliberate cruelty that has been inflicted on Amos, all in the name of “rehabilitating” him so that he will no longer dare to criticise the Lee family and of scaring any young people who might be inclined to follow him and actually believe they had any rights in Singapore. I labelled Amos Singapore’s Youngest Political Prisoner in a recent blog. This is clearly what he has become.
When Amos confessed that he felt suicidal to a prison psychiatrist, the prison responded by tying him hand and foot to a bed in the mental ward where he was left for a day and a half, surrounded by disturbed inmates and forced to use a bottle to relieve himself. As I have stated before, confinement in mental hospitals and prisons with violent inmates for political prisoners was standard treatment in the old Soviet Union and other totalitarian states. We can now be proud that in the twenty-first century we have reached that level, and all to protect a dead man and his children. Amos’s mother contacted Dodwell with her concerns that her son is being driven to suicide by the prospect of endless incarceration that lies before him. She says that Amos is very scared of what might be in store for him in Reformative Training (RT) and whether he will be raped and victimized by the hardened criminals inside.
Why have these terrors been inflicted on this boy for merely exercising his rights to freedom of expression? There is a glaring contrast between Amos’s cruel and inhumane treatment and that of the person who stalked him and assaulted him. He should have been tried for stalking and premeditated violence. Yet our AG allowed him to plead guilty to voluntarily causing hurt, which suggests just a momentary act of foolishness. That adult has already been released from his brief jail sentence and can return to his family whereas Amos can look forward to years of jail and control. According to Dodwell, Amos is still traumatized by being struck by this thug. And why has no action been taken against the people who made graphic and pornographic threats to harm him on social media?
Dodwell has asked Justice Kaur for the hearing on 23 June to determine if RT is suitable for Amos to be brought forward. He makes all the points that I made here which demonstrate that RT is way too harsh for a child of 16 convicted of doing what Amos did. Dodwell also criticises the way the judge allowed new evidence to be taken into account post-conviction and without giving the defence adequate time to respond. In his words, “it is our contention that the whole trial-sentencing process has been tainted” as a result of the “irrelevant and highly prejudicial material placed before the Judge”.
But this has always not been about punishing Amos for what he allegedly did but about locking him away and breaking him so he can no longer offend the ruling family or influence young Singaporeans to think that the freedoms in our Constitution actually mean something. It appears that simple humanity is beyond Justice Kaur and the AG. I find it shameful that Lee Hsien Loong and other members of his family allow this prosecution to go ahead without speaking up and saying that they were not offended by Amos’s comments about their late father. As son of the founding father of modern Singapore LHL could so easily have spoken out to calm the situation down. More than that, more than being able to do it he was obliged to do it. Of all People LKY would have said that politicians need thick skins and that you should speak your mind.
Many people have asked what they can do? You can and need to speak up. NOW!. Write letters to the papers, the forums, the WSJ, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, SCMP or leave comments here on my blog where I bear responsibility. Be polite but express your feelings. Christians should unite to confirm that Christianity is a religion of forgiveness. Ask your priests to write letters. As many people as possible should attend the court hearing. Here is the letter from Amos’s lawyer:
Thanks for bring this up with AI. As a Christian, I know what Amos wrote about Jesus is wrong, but that’s only because he is misguided, deceived or simply ignorant. But I’m NOT a single bit offended!
And this is really what’s wrong with Amos’ conviction under a law that purports to punish someone in protection of the sensibility of someone else. The fact that charges against what he wrote about Lee Kuan Yew were dropped, but those against his remarks about Christ were upheld, gives the twisted impression that Christians in Singapore are so unforgiving that they would want to put a teenager in jail for whatever nonsense he utters. The how matter reeks of trials against immorality, witch hunts and the like, which are no more than ruses that the political class use to silent dissent in the name of somebody else’s sensibility and morality.
Just to add in response to Kenneth’s plea for Christians to show forgiveness, yes, I forgive him, but not because he has trespassed against me. A true Christian could not have been offended; the Pharisees said worse things against Jesus, but that only strengthens our faith in our Lord.
In fact if Amos has offended our Lord, then we pray to our heavenly Father to forgive him, for he knew not what he did. We pray for his safety, deliverance and salvation.
We pray also that this beligerent, eye-for-an-eye society that Singapore has become to come to it’s senses.
God help us all.
Sentenced to what is effectively jail for a minimum of 18 months for a YouTube video!!!! Ok Amos called Jesus deceptive and malicious which is very offensive to Christians, but the main focus of his video was attacking Lee kuan yew and his political legacy.
In places like USA and England , his video would have been ignored unless the video was inciting physical violence.
Many friends and myself, we are extremely shocked by and angry with what has happened to Amos Yee, who simply spoke his mind about a politician of his own country. To treat anyone who just excersied his or her rights of freedom of speach with such cruelty is absolutely a disgrace, let alone a 16-year-old boy. I remember the first time I visited Singapore about 10 years ago, I saw a stone marked with Free Speach Corner and there was absolutely no one…Sad. Such a shame for one of Asian’s most modernised and beautiful countries to prove to be a place where free expressions of ideas are constrained or even punished. Apart from being inhuman, do people and their leaders in Singapore realise that this has been the important factor restricting the creativity and the intellectual development of their society? Free Amos Yee, please.
No. it is NOT possible for the judge to offer AMOS YEE Probation. She is / was paid big bucks by the Rich and powerful to exercise their wishes !
This situation has been going on for decades in Singapore and only the blind cannot see nor the deaf hear what has been going on for the past
30 years at least , having such faith and trust in the early promises of the PAP. Remember that saying ? “HE (read Gahmen) that pays the piper calls the tune !!!!! Unfortunately the Judge has Miss – Judged the opinion and attitudes of the general public in this unfortunate case which has made Singapore the laughing stock of the International community Singaporeans overseas conceal their Singapore origins in shame…….and no one can blame them.
From an atheistic viewpoint, Amos Yee has done nothing wrong. However, there is also nothing wrong with keeping him behind bars or going through a reform programme either. To view him of a prisoner of conscience would be to assume that there is a moral right and wrong, if so, whose? If there is no moral law giver and only state issued laws, on what basis can we appeal the state executing of such laws without falling back on theist beliefs? If we look towards Science as a guide, Amos Yee is merely behaving according to his genetic makeup and the nurture of it, as with everyone else. I would deem that using words such as “harm” “cruel” and “inhumane” is subjective personal opinions which are relative and not the reality of nature. If we were to oppose religion and the current regime, the practice of so-called “harm” and “torture” is a cause and effect which should be permissible. To think otherwise, would be to pander to monotheistic values such as justice, unalienable rights of the human animal and redemption. That is to say, we do not judge the performance being played currently but rationally observe, with indifference, the dance between Yee Pang Sang and Lee Hsien Loong, in which the better adapted will survive and go on surviving.
I have to say that I feel what Singapore did in punishing Amos Yee was wrong. However, it isn’t just morally wrong, it is also really stupid in that it gives people like Amos Yee, inexperienced, privileged and foul-mouthed kid, the twisted attention they seek. Best of all would have been for the government of Singapore to just to have ignored him and let real life and thoughtful and caring adults teach him the lessons he needs to learn, such as the higher road of disagreeing without using vulgarity and mud-slinging. He certainly doesn’t deserve the jail time he got, but neither does he deserve the worldwide attention, which will just go to his head and make him an even more unbearable adult who feels he can get attention by being a jerk instead of civilly and respectfully disagreeing. Some people put Amos into the same category of heros like Aung San Suu Kyi — he is definitely NOT in the league of Aung San Suu Kyi, a true freedom fighter who has made great sacrifices and maintained her dignity in the face of long-term persecution, so please don’t help him to think he is.
Is it possible for the judge to offer Amos probation again?
NO, it is not possible for the judge to offer Amos.. Probation. She gets paid big bucks to exercise the will and wishes of the Rich & Powerful (you know who they are)..in
particular, this case. I know personally, a couple of judges/ magistrates who refused to do the bidding of the Gahmen/ ministers as it was against their Christian conscience to be dishonest and Promptly resigned. I even know one very highly educated and admired gentleman who turned down the honour of being
PRESIDENT of Singapore……My belief is that he did not want to be a pawn of a government he did not respect. A man of Lofty Principles.
The Judge has clearly Miss-Judged the whole situation and public opinion. Singaporeans abroad conceal their Singapore origins to avoid embarrassment…
and NO One can blame them. Singapore is the laughing stock of the International community.
@Allen Do you know how to read “offer probation again?”. “Again” means it was already offered, Amos was the one who rejected it. Haha, who is the laughing stock? People who don’t follow the case properly and use anything to cry conspiracy!
If Amos being an atheist should not have mentioned and comparing the dead goat with Jesus as a dictator because Lee’s son would have something to bank on. In this case, ruffling the feathers of religions. If he had not mentioned anything pertaining to religion but purely on the dead devil, Lee Jr would not have done much if he was considering about the repercussion that it might have on his coming election.
Free Amos Yee.
I am sure you guys are also aware that Amos Yee accused his bailor, youth counselor Vincent Lee, of molestation. This boy is obviously out of control….i see comments using word such as “harsh”, “vindictive”, “cruel” to describe what Amos Yee is going. What he is going through is a walk in the park… you guys wanna see what true oppression looks like? > Google “Rohingya Muslim ethnic genocide”. Amos Yee is having it good, he even has time to toy with media and bring them on a wild goose chase, relishing every moment of it. We are all having it good. You guys have the luxury of sitting in front of a computer with a roof over your head acting all righteous and fight for “freedom of speech”.
Its a joke that some people think we need more people like HHH, Roy and Amos. No we do not. We need more people like Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong.
The reason for supporting Amos is not because he is an Angel or that he doesn’t err or even that we approve of his language. We don’t have to. We don’t even have to like him. We defend his rights because they are our rights. In any case it is clear that Amos was trolling the media and it backfired. He is a kid and he is not as clever apparently as he thinks or he just has too little experience of going up against our State managed media. What a pity his bailor over-reacted. It was quite clear that Amos, when quoted in context, was saying words to the effect of, ‘you want something newsworthy here I’ll give you something’ in response to being harassed by media. He had looked up the dictionary definition of molest I guess and thought he could trick them with that. I suppose (and I am only speculating) that he was trying to show that the Media would make assumptions (in this case that the ‘molest’ was sexual) and run off with that… he was wrong. there are commonly accepted meanings for words and also a concept known as‘Don’t shout fire in a crowded theatre’. He apologised.
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KJ, this is a sound interpretation and clarification of Amos’ conduct and motives, and what’s at stake in this horrifying miscarriage of reason and justice.
Did you read Amos’s blog? He knew the commonly accepted meaning of molest was sexual attack. He wanted Vincent law to suffer becos he felt that he suffered when Vincent bailed him out and forced him to listen to preaching.
You referring to the apology which he admitted it was not? How did Vincent over react when you have a youth accuse a youth counsellor of sexual abuse of a minor?
You lived in West. You know damn well such accusations made on a public platform could have sparked off a witch hunt and destroy lives
“You guys have the luxury of sitting in front of a computer with a roof over your head acting all righteous …” Hey, that is on Amos’ abusive track! When you, presumably adult and mature, surely also “sitting before a computer”, can be provoked to utter such abuse, what about a mere sixteen?
They say, in education circles, that child genius (Amos is undoubtedly talented in some ways) is often accompanied with “problem child” behavior. He is an actor, and perhaps he has been unwisely exposed to the so-claimed modern school of drama that urges that “authentic” living is to act and say out exactly how one feels, nevermind how vulgar and crude your act and words have to be in order to “express your true self”. Remember, he started acting when very young, and years of schooling and indoctrinating at that might have ingrained that character in him. Remember, when determined by character, there is the issue of how much freewill one can exercise to act against the trend. Hard to stop a barking dog, right? Just as you yourself, subconsciously surely, became yourself unwarrantedly abusive in your reply to us!
Two wrongs does not make one right.
On many counts, that familee and party have breached all moral, social and spiritual codes of conduct.
Their end is near and they will have the bear he fruits of their evil karma,
I have said before that LKY is now a XXXXXXXXX. (moderator edited, please do try to avoid the ad hominem)
That’s how karma works.
Dear Kenneth, many thanks for expressing in such a heartfelt manner the deep dismay and indignation all right thinking S’poreans are feeling throughout Amos’ sadistic ordeal. Both law and good sense seem powerless to intervene. Lee Hsien Loong’s personal vendetta and vindictiveness is evident to all. Using the almighty resources of the state to snuff out a kid is the writing on the wall, I believe. He is hoist by his own petard.
Unfortunately….MOST UNFORTUNATELY……….Singapore & the Government WILL be remembered for ALL the wrong reasons because of its treatment of famous AMOS YEE.
How FOOLISH is that Singapore ? Because of such “Governance”, Once proud Singaporeans, they only sheepishly reveal their origins when abroad these days and when they wave the flag at all, it’s at 1/2 mast…………………mostly 3/4 ! Amos, whatever the outcome will be celebrated in the Free World . … That cannot be said for his persecutors .AND QUIETLY of course… Singapore is the laughing stock of the International community ! What a Tragedy. After earlier years of huge progress..& endless Fanfare, ….the leaders have plonked their feet in the proverbial………..S….. Is this what Higher Education all About ?
Thank you Kenneth for speaking up. You are one of the very very few voices in Singapore who would speak up where others fear to thread. I feel extremely sad for Amos and family to go through such treatment. I attended the court hearings and Mr Dodwell and his team did an excellent defence by tearing down the prosecution, point by point and even words. The judge seems to be bought by the defence team too for their convincing sensible, logical and rational argument but am absolutely shock that Justice Kaur could arrive at her guilty judgement. It makes me wonder if she lives by her vows of the law? What is she thinking? Does she sleeps well knowing that she has ‘hang’ a 16 year old boy, whose brain has not fully matured, by her judgement? What if in future she has a son or grandchild like Amos, will she give such a sentence? Is it fair to a teenager? I can’t help but wonder if she is beholden to the State for her position than her true judgement as a person who is suppose to uphold the law? I find that there is indeed no justice in our system and has absolutely no faith in the court or the government. Years of how they fixed opposing views and critics of the government in the court is indeed disgusting! I hope with the current case of Amos, Roy and Han Hui Hui will bring the collapse of our government whose job is suppose to take care of their citizens rather than fixing them. Every citizen may have one of these child in our own family. Do we want our children or grandchildren to suffer such harsh judgement for being themselves?
Glad that there are people who would speak out after all. Together we can bring about real change in this country.
Please do make a point of reading the letter by Amos’ lawyers to the judge protesting the inhumane treatment of Amos by the authorities.
They stand accused of cruel and vindictive punishment of a 16-year old child because he stood firm and refused to say ‘SORRY, SORRY’ for daring to critique the questionable accomplishments of a ‘world statesman’.
This is SHAMEFUL and disgusting and totally inexcusable behaviour, unbecoming of a civilised nation. All Singaporeans ought to be outraged by what is being carried out in their name.
Good job kenneth.let hope he get release soon,the next ge all opp party should take part including the reform party presure the pap. : done by the kid again if kenneth remember 🙂
I also wish to add my voice – he is only 16 years old!! I also am confused how a judge who is not Christian herself can make a judgement that Amos offended Christians?! And now reading Dodwell’s letter i am shocked at the level of injustice – that the prosecutors can admit evidence of Amos’ posting that occurred AFTER he was charged? Huh? Even as a lay person I can see how RIDICULOUS that is!
On top of that, are the courts trying to just lock up Amos because they’ve always been able to silence their detractors? And now they don’t know what to do with a boy who refuses to be silenced? Looks that way to me – if they actually are allowing his recent postings to be admitted into evidence – as seen in Dodwell’s letter!! Seems to me, they are angry that Amos continues speaking his mind. They want citizens to remain quiet and shut up – as they always have. So they are unfairly levelling evidence which should not be allowed, on him.
And to think the prison can just nonchalantly not give the lawyers’ documents to Amos?!?!? Unimaginable!!!!!! To me, this also looks like not just a mere human error, but one that was premeditated to teach the anti-PAP Amos a lesson. And yes the treatment by the police of the mentally unsound or suicidal people is RIDICULOUS – i myself have seen people who attempted suicide strapped to their beds with police around them – in the hospital. It seems that nobody in the police service understands that you don’t cure a mental illness by strapping people to beds!! I as a lay person knows this!!
I personally feel let down by our prison and legal system. Really i do. It makes me ashamed of our prison and legal system. It makes me question if they do this unethical or unfair service just to political dissidents – or is it to everyone?!? I feel I don’t have faith in our system any more – and that is a sad thing, and if i feel that way i imagine many others do as well – i feel a govt that cares should look into this. But of course if the system services the govt’s needs, then why should they look into it? Why should they care about its people’s feelings towards the system?
I’m personally sick and tired of this govt – we’ve not had good opposition in earlier years – so i feel trapped honestly. But i hope to see better opposition coming forward – and i hope to see unethical and unfair judges and policemen taken care of – i can’t understand how they can act so unprofessionally and still be in their jobs honestly! Oh forgot, the govt is fine with their behaviour………. really sad situation.
Thanks KJ for the great effort and also all the kind souls helping him. Let’s hope Amos will not be subject to further harm and be freed immediately. Its really a very sad day for Singapore. We worked so hard for what is today and yet we are still trapped in this kind of cruel situation. How not to expect our country to be still so backward?
AG and judges probably feel they have to uphold the toughness of LKY-instituted legal regime, since their duty of office (executing which their job performance is judged) is to uphold the “justice” determined by the State. For instance, LKY instituted mandatory hangings of drug-traffickers, the injustice and inhumanity of which even the present leaders seemed to have felt when they recently relented somewhat and allowed an avenue for the deaths to be commuted to life in prison. And consider the canings of vandals and foreigners over-staying, etc., and LKY’s opening supporting, as the only way to get information, the tough interrogation techniques many complained the police and ISD deploy. Critics of such “inhuman treatments” LKY derided as being sentimental and soft, spoilt by “western liberalism”. “Human right” became a bad term under LKY. With such a judiciary to run and uphold, is it any wonder that the AG and judge feel the duty to just as toughly and unsentimentally go by the letter of the law, notwithstanding all the inhumanity Kenneth here depicts of Amos’ probable treatment? You are right, Kenneth, about the need of LHL intervening (assuming, of course, that he hasn’t been actually supporting Amos’ punishment) in order that things would change course. For by keeping quiet, he sends the message that that state-endorsed policy of punitive toughness must proceed as it has been written.
Why would LHL say that he is not offended ? I believe, he will even gloat that Amos will be sent to RT. If Amos is tortured or raped in there, it would be his SWEETEST REVENGE – The FamiLEE dignity is upheld. Well, Weak People – Revenge, Strong People – Forgive, Intelligent People ? Ignore !!
Thank you very much for standing up for Amos when so few would.. if its anything I’ll add my voice too..
Thank you for speaking out for the boy, Kenneth. This is a clear case of miscarriage of justice and the harsh treatment of the boy is shameful and disgusting. What is regrettable also is that there are many Singaporeans who feel that Amos is merely getting what he deserves. Conditioning is a great teacher.
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