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Californian charged with Singapore slander

June 24, 2008 at 2:27 PM   |   Comments

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SINGAPORE, June 24 (UPI) -- California attorney Gopalan Nair is facing charges he defamed a Singapore judge on his weblog.

Nair, who returned to his native city-state for the first time since moving to Fremont in 1991, has been arrested for suggesting online that a judge in the defamation trial of another opposition activist was "prostituting herself," the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday.

Singapore's tight control for five decades by Lee Kuan Yew's People's Action Party, has led to accusations by human-rights groups of suppression of political dissent. Nair had gone there in May to blog and monitor the case of Dr. Chee Soon Juan, on trial for allegedly defaming Lee and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

His own writings at singaporedissident.blogspot.com however led to five days in solitary confinement and now a legal limbo status as he awaits a July 14 hearing with possible fines of about $7,000 and up to two years in jail for the "insulting a public servant in a judicial proceeding." He also faces a second charge of allegedly sending an insulting e-mail to a different judge in 2006.

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