The court today sentenced Shadrake, 76, to six weeks in
prison, and fined him 20,000
Singapore officials have previously used contempt charges against journalists critical of the country's judicial system, but the jail term against Shadrake is the longest ever issued for this charge, according to news reports that cited the judge.
The author is out on bail, The Wall Street Journal reported. It is unclear whether he intends to appeal the sentence.
"This is an absurd application of a law that should not be used to prevent scrutiny of the branches of government," said CPJ's Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "This prison sentence will have a chilling effect on independent media and journalists in a place where the press is already working under constraints."
High Court Judge Quentin Loh said he imposed the harsh
penalty in order to send "a signal to those who hope to profit from
controversy," the Wall Street Journal reported.
In addition to the prison term and the fine, the author was also told to pay
Shadrake's book questions the impartiality and independence
Singapore officials have frequently used contempt and defamation charges against journalists, and have won settlements, fines and damages from the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Economist, and Dow Jones & Co.