Even as activists gathered at Hong Lim Park to call for her son’s release, the mother of teenager Amos Yee was being informed by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) that her son would be sent to a hospital on Sunday night.
Mdm Mary Toh, Amos’s mother, says she has been informed by IMH staff that her son is now in hospital.
16-year old Amos Yee had been remanded at the IMH the last two weeks for psychiatric assessment.
He is reported to be held at block 7 in the institution, believed to be the remand ward where mentally ill patients and the criminally insane are also held.
Mdm Mary Toh tells TOC on Sunday that her son’s blood glucose level has dropped and that he has also been feeling giddy.
Mdm Toh had earlier said her son had not been eating for several days, was also not sleeping well and was feeling depressed. She says he has lost weight too.
“Even this morning, he was asking me why he can’t be released,” Mdm Toh says.
“Amos pleaded [with me] to get him out soon,” Mdm Toh told TOC on Wednesday. “He can’t stand even another day in there. He said prison is better than IMH.”
“IMH staff thought Amos could be discharged today,” Mdm Toh said then, adding that the staff have been very helpful but are also concerned about the teenager who she said has not eaten for three days.
“They are all very concerned and worried, but say they can’t do anything,” Mdm Toh said, referring to the IMH staff.
On Friday, the teen’s lawyers filed an urgent appeal with the court to ask for Amos Yee to be released on bail.
However, this was unsuccessful as the court had a full day’s schedule and was not able to accommodate an urgent hearing.
Amos Yee is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, 6 July, for his sentencing.
He was found guilty on 12 May of “wounding the religious feelings of Christians” in a video he posted online, and for posting an obscene image on his blog.
In the weeks since then, however, his treatment by the State has attracted international criticisms, including from the United Nations and Amnesty International which have described Amos Yee as a prisoner of conscience.
Protests in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia have also taken place this past week calling for his release.
On Sunday, some 500 people gathered at Singapore’s only venue for free speech to add their voices to the call.
By the time of his next appearance in court on Monday, the teenager would have served a total of 55 days in remand at Changi Prison and the IMH.
On Monday, this could be extended further by a jail term or at least 18 months in a reformative training centre.
“According to the Office of the UN Commissioner on Human Rights,” Amnesty International said, “reformative training is ‘akin to detention and usually applied to juvenile offenders involved in serious crimes’ and was referred to in a recent Singapore district court decision as ‘incarcerative in nature and should be imposed cautiously’.”
The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) said in a statement on 22 June.
“OHCHR is concerned that the criminal sanctions considered in this case seem disproportionate and inappropriate in terms of the international protections for freedom of expression and opinion.”