Target: Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong
Goal: Dismiss charges against teenage boy arrested for Internet post.
Sixteen-year-old Amos Yee Pang Sang is facing 18 months in a Reformative Training Center after posting a video deemed offensive towards the memory of Singapore’s founding prime minister on his blog. Urge current Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong to release the teenager immediately.
The video was put on YouTube and depicted the founding prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with their heads pasted onto the bodies of cartoons having sex. Yee was accused of transmission of obscene content and insulting religious feelings by the Singapore government. Yee has been convicted on both accounts and sentenced to a year and a half in an RTC and probation.
While this video might be inappropriate, it is not criminal and should not mean this teenager spends the rest of his childhood in a prison. Yee has been photographed in handcuffs, leg shackles and prison clothing while going to trial for his nonviolent offense of posting his opinion online.
Yee has since expressed that he is suicidal and spent time strapped down to his prison bed for his safety while waiting for the paperwork which would permit his transfer to the RTC. He has also been attacked both physically and online. Since his time in the prison system, both his lawyers and advocates have been expressing worry about his physical and mental safety, feeling neither are being properly addressed by the government.
Singapore recognizes two different laws in its government about freedom of speech and expression, one protecting children and the other being a customary international law. Yee used this right and has been persecuted for it to an extreme extent. By signing the petition below, you will be demanding the Yee be released from prison, the charges against him dismissed, and his right to express his views on the Internet returned, even if those views are considered offensive by the Singapore government.
Dear Prime Minister Lee,
Amos Yee Pang Sang posted a video about Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew that was deemed inappropriate and offensive by your government. Because of this video, Yee has been sentenced to a year and a half in a Reformative Training Center.
Yee should be protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both recognized by Singapore and both granting him the right to free speech and his opinion even if it stands against that of others. Instead, he has been treated like a violent criminal, put into handcuffs and shackles and threatened both physically and mentally. His situation has caused him obvious distress and his personal safety is now at risk.
This teenager should not have to grow up in an RTC. Singapore should show that it is a government that upholds the freedom of speech and respects its people’s basic rights by dismissing all the charges against him. Doing this will be a step in showing that the Singapore justice system respects the opinions and voices of its people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ilouque