Appeal to International Children Agencies to Denounce Political Persecution of Amos Yee.
“On 29 March 2015, a 16-year-old boy Amos Yee was arrested and charged on 31 March 2015, just two days later, after he made a video which criticised the late first prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. Amos also spoke about the high income inequality in Singapore and attributed it to the first prime minister as well.
Amos was charged with three charges. For one of them, the first prime minister’s supporters said that the video “contained remarks about Mr Lee Kuan Yew which was intended to be heard and seen by persons likely to be distressed”.
More importantly, Amos was also charged as an adult in the State Court. He was not charged in the Juvenile Court for children.
After Amos was charged, he was put on bail for $20,000. The terms of his bail are excessive. He is not allowed to post, upload, distribute or by an other means cause to be made visible or available any comment or content, whether directly or indirectly, to any social media or online service or website.
In addition, he is now being held in remand, and has been in prison for four days now.
I would like to highlight that Singapore is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Under the convention, Singapore is required to look for other measures “without resorting to judicial proceedings,… such as care, guidance and supervision orders; counselling; probation; foster care; education and vocational training programmes and other alternatives to institutional care shall be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances and the offence.”
However, after Amos was arrested, he was immediately charged. He was not given any other recourse.
On top of that, under the convention, Amos should have been “treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society.”
However, a blanket restriction was imposed on Amos’s freedom of speech and expression and he has been imprisoned for four days in jail now.”