Singapore Cartoonist Faces Contempt of Court Action

A Singapore cartoonist faces possible contempt of court charges after the Attorney-General’s Chambers of the city state said his comics scandalized the judiciary.

Singapore started legal action against Leslie Chew Peng Ee, the author of the comic series “Demon-cratic Singapore” on Facebook, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday.

The four postings, which the attorney general’s office found offensive, have since been taken down. Demon-cratic Singapore is “a 100 percent fictional comic series about a country that does not exist,” according to its Facebook page.

“Our judiciary is not like fragile flowers to be offended easily by such criticism,” Chew’s lawyer M. Ravi said in a phone interview. “We have full faith in the impartiality and independence of our judiciary.”

Contempt of court carries a possible penalty of a jail sentence, a fine, or both. No maximum penalty has been specified under Singapore’s constitution. A high court hearing for Chew’s case is scheduled for Aug. 12.

Singapore blogger Au Waipang apologized in July 2012 and deleted a post alleging the courts were biased in favor of the well-connected after he was threatened with prosecution.

British author Alan Shadrake was jailed for six weeks and fined in 2011 for his book “Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore’s Justice in the Dock.” Three activists were sentenced to between seven and 15 days in prison for wearing T-shirts with pictures of a kangaroo dressed as a judge.

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