Singapore courtroom jails man for racially offensive tweets, slurs to Indians

A 35-year outdated senior govt at a software program firm in Singapore, who made racially offensive tweets in April final 12 months, together with slurs to Indians and condemning Indian immigrants about COVID-19, was jailed for 3 weeks on Tuesday, a media report mentioned.

Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari, a Malay, pleaded responsible to 2 prices every of committing acts he knew had been prejudicial to the upkeep of concord between totally different racial teams in Singapore. Another two comparable prices had been thought of in sentencing, Channel News Asia reported.

A member of the general public referred to as the police in April 2020 after seeing a tweet by the consumer “sharonliew86” condemning Indian immigrants about COVID-19.

Zainal, a senior director at a software program firm, used the pseudonym “Sharon Liew” (Chinese title), had sole management of the account.

In March 2020, he additionally posted that “good Chinese” girls have executed social distancing contained in the Mass Rapid Transit subway trains by not wanting to sit down subsequent to Indians.

Zainal’s attorneys claimed that he was “not a racist” and that he was taking up a “parody account” and “overstepped the mark” whereas “attempting to be humorous”.

District Judge S Jennifer Marie mentioned that race and faith are delicate points and would-be offenders should realise that careless remarks have the potential to trigger social dysfunction.

“Further, when such remarks are revealed with the medium of the Internet, they’ve the ever present attain and subsequently amplify the potential and irreversible hurt that might be triggered to…peace and racial concord.” She added that racial tensions have been heightened by the continued pandemic and a robust deterrent sign should be despatched.

Zainal was recognized and police investigations revealed that he had arrange the Twitter account in July 2018 with two different buddies.

It was meant to be a parody account and had greater than 5,000 followers, however the posts by Zainal’s two buddies stopped from early 2019.

Zainal took sole management of the account and posted the offensive tweets in March and April 2020.

The prosecutor referred to as for 4 weeks’ jail, saying there was a transparent want for common deterrence, particularly within the present local weather the place tensions in the neighborhood have been heightened and strained by distinctive pandemic circumstances.

Lawyer Sunil Sudheesan requested as an alternative for 3 weeks’ jail, saying that each motion by his shopper should be considered “within the correct context”.

“He’s not a racist, clearly,” mentioned Sudheesan. Zainal is married to a Chinese girl and has racially numerous buddies.

Sudheesan mentioned everybody who adopted the account knew it was a parody, and issues may have turn into infected when individuals who didn’t know the intention of sure tweets forwarded them.

“Our shopper could be very sorry for this. He ought to have anticipated this,” the Channel quoted the lawyer as saying. The prosecutor responded that Zainal had properly crossed the road.

“This was not parody, this was not satirical behaviour, this was merely the actions of an internet troll who was frightening others…This is admittedly not acceptable,” he mentioned.

The decide instructed Zainal that the language utilized in his tweets had been in dangerous style.

“If you had actually valued racial and cultural range, you need to have appreciated all of the extra the necessity to protect … sensitivities given the multi-cultural material of Singapore,” she mentioned.


For every cost of committing an act prejudicial to racial concord, Zainal may have been jailed as much as three years, fined, or each.

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