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싱가포르, 사형제 관련 책 저자 석방해야

국제앰네스티는 싱가포르의 사형제도를 비판하는 책을 출판했다가 지난 18일 명예훼손 혐의로 체포된 영국인 작가 앨런 새드레이크(Alan Shadrake)의 즉각적인 석방을 싱가포르 당국에 요청했다.국제앰네스티 도나 게스트(Donna Guest) 아시아태평양 부국장은 “싱가포르는 정부 정책에 대한 비평가들의 목소리를 없애기 위해 명예훼손을 이용하고 있다”며 “싱가포르 정부는 새드레이크를 즉시 석방해야한다”고 말했다.

새드레이크는 자신의 저서 Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock 를 지난 17일 출간했다. 그의 저서는 싱가포르 창이 교도소 (Changi Prison)에서 근무하던 전 교수형 집행인과 가진 인터뷰 내용을 담고 있다. 그는 다음날 18일 체포됐으며 현재 칸톤먼트(Cantonment) 경찰서에 구금돼있다.

싱가포르 경찰 당국은 새드레이크의 체포를 시인하면서 “그는 현재 명예훼손 및 기타 혐의와 관련해 조사를 받고 있다”고 말했다.

게스트 부국장은 “싱가포르가 진정 세계적인 언론의 도시로 자리매김하고 싶다면 표현의 자유와 관련된 세계적인 인권 기준을 존중해야 한다”며 “싱가포르는 사형제도는 물론이고 명예훼손 관련법도 폐지해야 한다”고 말했다.

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Singapore must release British author of death penalty book

19 July 2010

Amnesty International has called on the Singapore authorities to immediately release British author Alan Shadrake, who was arrested for criminal defamation on 18 July after he published a book critical of Singapore’s use of the death penalty.

“Singapore uses criminal defamation laws to silence critics of government policies,” said Donna Guest, Asia Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International. “The Singapore government should release Shadrake at once.”

Shadrake launched his book Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock in Singapore on Saturday. His book features an interview with a former hangman at Singapore’s Changi Prison. On Sunday, Shadrake was arrested, and is currently being detained at Cantonment Police Station.

The Singapore Police Force confirmed Shadrake’s arrest in a statement, which said: “He is being investigated for alleged offences of criminal defamation and other offences.”

Police said the arrest was made pursuant to a complaint lodged on 16 July by the Media Development Authority (MDA) the government body responsible for censoring publications and broadcasts. According its website, the MDA is “developing Singapore into a vibrant global media city”.

“If Singapore aspires to be a global media city, it needs to respect global human rights standards for freedom of expression,” said Donna Guest. “Singapore should get rid of both its criminal defamation laws and the death penalty.”

Criminal defamation in Singapore carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and uncapped fines. This has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech. According to Amnesty International, peaceful criticism of government policies must never be the subject of criminal proceedings.

In 2010 the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, called on all states to abolish all criminal defamation laws, which he said could not be justified, given that non-criminal defamation laws adequately protect people’s reputations.

Singapore’s death penalty laws also fail to meet international human rights standards. Its drug law violates fair-trial standards by a presumption of guilt against defendants charged with drug-trafficking, which in turn carries a mandatory death penalty. This prevents judges from considering the circumstances of a case, or handing down lighter sentences.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has stated that the death penalty should under no circumstances be mandatory by law, regardless of the charges involved.


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