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A teen whose YouTube video tested Singapore’s censorship limits has been remanded at a mental health institute

Reuters/Edgar Su
Amos Yee after his trial last month.
By Steve Mollman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Last month Singapore teenager Amos Yee was found guilty of circulating obscene imagery and “wounding religious feelings,” after posting a YouTube rant in which he criticized the recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew, the nation’s widely revered first prime minister. Today Yee was scheduled to receive his sentence.

Instead, he has been remanded at a mental health institute for a few weeks.

A district judge said that because Yee possibly suffers from an autism spectrum disorder, she’ll explore other sentencing options besides the up to three years in prison Yee faced.

One possibility is Singapore’s mandatory treatment order, for offenders suffering from psychiatric conditions. The defense lawyer said Yee would be willing to undergo such treatment, which can last up to two years. It’s unclear at this point what the treatment would entail.

The United Nations Human Rights Office in Southeast Asia expressed concern about both the conviction and Yee’s health while he waited in jail for the sentence, issuing a statement (pdf) on June 22. The teenager was “detained in Changi prison where, according to his lawyer, his physical and psychological status is deteriorating,” the statement said.

The organization called for the “immediate release” of Yee in line with Singapore’s commitment under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At Yee’s next hearing, scheduled for July 6, the judge is expected to review a psychiatric report, and then decide how he will be sentenced.

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