SINGAPORE, July 19 (UPI) -- The British author of a book critical of Singapore's death penalty who was arrested by Singapore authorities must be released, a human rights group says.
Alan Shadrake, was arrested July 18 on charges of criminal defamation relating to his book, "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock," featuring an interview with a former hangman at Singapore's Changi Prison, Amnesty International said Monday.
"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."
Police said Shadrake was detained after a July 16 complaint lodged by the Media Development Authority, the government arm responsible for censoring publications and broadcasts, Amnesty International says.
The MDA's Web site says it 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," Guest said. "Singapore should get rid of both its criminal defamation laws and the death penalty."
In Singapore criminal defamation carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and uncapped fines, Amnesty International says.