Singapore Arrests Teenager Over Video Critical of Lee Kuan Yew


HONG KONG — A 16-year-old who appeared in a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore who died on March 23, was arrested because of his comments that disparaged Christianity, according to the Singaporean police and local news reports.

The arrest came on Sunday as Singapore held a state funeral for Mr. Lee that was attended by world leaders and dignitaries. Thousands of Singapore’s residents stood in the rain to see his coffin pass through the streets.

Singapore is known for measures viewed by critics as strict limits on expression, and its politicians, including Mr. Lee, have won defamation cases against critics. Libel cases have also been filed against foreign news media outlets, among them The International Herald Tribune — now The International New York Times.

The police said late Monday evening that the teenager had been arrested because of his criticism of Christianity, under a law that bans the “deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings.”

The teenager also faces charges for obscenity and violation of Singapore’s Harassment Act, which restricts “threatening, abusive or insulting communication,” the police said in a statement late Monday.

The teenager was not identified, although the newspaper The Straits Times in Singapore and the Singapore-based broadcaster Channel News Asia identified him as Amos Yee and said he had appeared in a video posted on YouTube last week.

Titled “Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!” the video includes an eight-minute monologue questioning whether Singapore’s prosperity under Mr. Lee’s leadership had left citizens happy.

“He created an environment where his blatant flaws as a leader were hidden because most people were afraid of criticizing him,” the teenager says in the video.

The video led to more than 20 complaints to the police. It has since been made private on Mr. Yee’s YouTube account.

Mr. Yee was also accused of posting obscene material on his Facebook page and blog, according to local news reports.

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