Cartoonist won't face action for sedition

SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General, after reviewing evidence gathered by the police, will not take cartoonist Leslie Chew Peng Ee to court for sedition for an online comic strip.

Chew, 37, was informed of the decision earlier on Monday, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said.

But he still faces legal action for contempt of court brought against him by the AGC for allegedly "scandalising the judiciary" in four comics.

He had posted the comics on the same online comic series called Demon-cratic Singapore.

The self-employed cartoonist, however, will not face further action "for any offence under section 4(1)(a) read with section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act", said the AGC statement on Monday.

Explaining the law, the AGC said that, taken together, the sections refer to "doing an act with a tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population in Singapore".

On his Facebook page on March 27 this year, Chew had posted a comic strip about how a government suppressed the Malay population.

He claims on the page that Demon-cratic Singapore is the "full name" of a fictional country, "often referred to as Singapore for short".

It also says the series is "a totally fictional comic with entirely fictional characters based on wholly fictional events".

But the comic strips are said to bear a strong resemblance to actual situations here.

A member of the public had deemed his March posting racially insensitive and made a police report.

He was arrested on April 19 and released on police bail on April 21.

On Monday, the AGC said his bail will be allowed to lapse and his passport will be returned to him.

Its statement also advised members of the public not to make statements that could influence or affect ongoing court proceedings.

The contempt of court case, on the four postings made in relation to the Singapore judiciary, will be heard in the High Court on Aug 12.

Chew's lawyer M. Ravi told The Straits Times that his client will not comment on the AGC's decision on Monday.


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