Singapore jails 12-week-pregnant editor for ‘seditious articles’

Published - April 23, 2016 07:09 am IST - Singapore

A 23-year-old editor of a website in Singapore has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for publishing “seditious articles” intended to “provoke unwarranted hatred against foreigners”.

Ai Takagi, who is 12 weeks pregnant, is the chief editor of socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS). She surrendered herself at the State Courts on Friday to begin the jail term, The Straits Times reported on Saturday.

She was convicted of sedition in March 2016 after she pleaded guilty to publishing “seditious articles” on the TRS website.

Her sentence was deferred till Friday.

The court had found that the articles published by TRS were intended to “provoke unwarranted hatred against foreigners in Singapore” and jailed her for 10 months.

Takagi, an Australian of Japanese descent, told the court that she set up TRS in 2012 to let Singaporeans express their views without fear. But the prosecution said the website was in fact a revenue-generating business.

The court found that Takagi was a “a shrewd businesswoman who was driven by financial gains”.

Takagi had also apologised in open court to the people of Singapore for the harm the published articles had caused.

Admitting she was not fully aware of the level of sensitivity needed when dealing with racial and religious issues here, Takagi claimed that she “loves” Singapore and hopes to call it her home permanently.

“I now know that the harmony which Singapore enjoys today requires careful and continuous efforts on the part of everyone, citizens and visitors alike, to maintain,” she said.

One article was entitled Why Some Singaporeans Feel Annoyed With Pinoys In Singapore and published in June 2014. Pinoys refers to a section of the Filipinos.

The article quoted a Singaporean who allegedly quit his job claiming Filipinos in his company gave preferential treatment to their countrymen. It described them as “two-faced” and “relentless back-stabbers”.

Takagi’s Singaporean husband Yang Kaiheng, 27, is on trial for allegedly helping her run the site. He is expected back in court on June 22, 2016 when the case resumes.

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