A protest will be held in Hong Lim Park this coming Sunday, 4 pm, to ask for the release of Amos Yee, a 16-year-old blogger who is currently being held in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).
The Sunday’s event page says:
“For producing a YouTube video deemed offensive to some people, 16-year-old Amos Yee has been handcuffed, arrested, charged, tried, imprisoned, shackled to his bed, and placed in a mental institution. He has also been assaulted in public and threatened with sexual abuse.”
This protest is organised by Community Action Network (CAN), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Singapore concerned about freedom of expression, and civil and political rights.
The spokesperson for the group, Jolovan Wham, said that the group believes that it is wrong to detain, arrest and torture the 16-year-old teenager for saying things which people don’t agree with.
While news coverage on the matter has been extensive, along with the fact that international groups have voiced their objection and concern towards the treatment of Amos Yee by the Singapore Government, Mr Wham says that the group is not certain if that would translate into attendance.
“I really don’t know how many would turn up, maybe 100?”
He said that because freedom of speech is an extract concept and not a bread and butter issue as compared to something like CPF, but people are generally shocked that Amos is now kept in a mental institution.
The programme that is expected to take place at the event include speeches delivered by individuals and writing of placards, along with a possible petition signing campaign which would be delivered to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
An earlier demonstration of support for Amos Yee was held outside of Singapore de-facto embassy at Taiwan by Taiwanese NGOs and activists.
Another two events are being scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Malaysia and in Hong Kong to call on the Singapore government to release the teenager.
Amos Yee is currently being held, by order of the court, in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Singapore, for assessment to determine if he is suitable to be issued a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO).
A prior three-week assessment while being held at the Changi Prison saw Amos Yee being assessed as suitable for reformative training. However, the psychiatrist who conducted the assessment, Munidasa Winslow, also said the teen may be suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Judge Jasvendar Kaur then ordered that Amos Yee underwent a further two-week assessment at the IMH to confirm this.
Amos was earlier charged with posting material online that contained remarks against Christianity, in a video he created and uploaded on YouTube that criticised the later former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
He was found guilty by District Judge Jasvendar Kaur on 12 May, of the two charges brought against him by the AGC.
An earlier third charge against Amos, under Section 4 of the Harassment Act, was dropped by AGC. It is still unclear which of the things that Amos said – either the disparaging remarks directed at Mr Lee Kuan Yew or at Christianity – constituted the Harrassment.
District Judge Jasvendar Kaur found the teen guilty of the charge of obscenity for having uploaded a picture of the late Singapore prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew in a sexual depiction with the former British prime minister, the late Margaret Thatcher.
Amos Yee was also convicted of the second charge of wounding the feelings of Christians for remarks he made in a video of Mr Lee and the Christian religious icon, Jesus Christ, which he had uploaded onto Youtube.