A teenage blogger from Singapore has been found guilty of insulting Christians and of distributing an obscene image of the country’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Amos Yee, 16, had faced three years in prison, but will be put on probation instead, the Associated Press reported.
He was released on a bail of 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,400).
On March 27, Yee posted a YouTube video that said Christians were “power-hungry and malicious” people who “deceive others into thinking that they are compassionate and kind.”
In the multicultural island nation, maligning religion is illegal.
Yee also posted an image of Lee and Thatcher superimposed on a drawing of two figures engaged in sexual activity.
He was acquitted of making an online video containing offensive remarks about Lee, the founder of modern Singapore, who died on March 23, the Straits Times reported.
In her verdict, District Judge Jasvender Kaur rejected Yee’s defense that he did not intend to insult Christians, and said she was concerned by the effect the obscene image would have on teenagers, the AP reported.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun said: “His actions show him to be a misguided young man who sought to gain attention for himself by deliberately posting obscene material to shock and deliberately posting material he admits he knew would cause ill will among Christians,” the Straits Times reported.
He added: “His actions are far from being ‘noble’ or imbued with good intentions. It was a calculated course of conduct undertaken for the sake of publicity and without regard to the damaging effects on the community,” according to the paper.
He said taking Yee’s age and profile into account, a fine or prison would not be suitable, and that Yee needs counseling and appropriate probation, the paper said.
Yee, whose parents said they will discuss whether to appeal with lawyers, will have to take down the two posts as part of the ruling, the AP reported. Sentencing on his probation is due to take place on June 2.
YS END ONYANGA-OMARA