July 18, 2010 / 6:51 PM / 10 years ago

Singapore arrests UK author on defamation charge

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore police have arrested a British author on charges of criminal defamation and contempt of court, a day after he launched a book on death penalty in the city-state.

The arrest was made pursuant to a report that was lodged by the government’s Media Development Authority on Friday, the Singapore police said in a statement.

Alan Shadrake, has also been served with an application by the attorney-general for “an order of committal for contempt of court”, it said.

Shadrake, who was arrested at a hotel on Sunday, remained in police custody as the investigation was ongoing, a police spokesman said.

In an email to Reuters on July 3, Shadrake called himself a “British freelance journalist and author,” who had planned to launch his latest book “Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock” in the city-state on Saturday.

The Straits Times newspaper reported on its website on Sunday that Shadrake was 75 and his 219-page book was filled with accounts of high-profile cases in Singapore involving the use of the death penalty. It also included interviews with the city-state’s former executioner.

Singapore imposes a death penalty for crimes such as murder and a mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking.

The crime rate on the island nation of 5 million people is among the lowest in the world.

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Saeed Azhar

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