Friday, January 6, 2017

Should Singaporean religious hate speech blogger Amos Yee be released from jail on bond?

updated 01/062017

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Gopalan Nair, an Attorney in California with over 20 years of experience. I have done hundreds of asylum cases countries from as far and wide as Tajikistan to Pakistan. My telephone number is (510) 491 8525 and my Email is I practice in the San Francisco area. Immigration is federal practice which allows me to represent client in all 50 states of the US.

Amos Yee, a Singaporean blogger was recently jailed twice for religious insults against Muslims and Christians in his native Singapore. He has recently entered the United States at Chicago asking for asylum and is presently on Immigration Hold at McHenry Correctional Facility, a prison, in Woodstock Illinois. Please see my post previous to this.

Asylum proceedings are confidential and information about any case is hard to get except for legal counsel or his own contacts. My understanding is that his "credible fear interview" has not yet been held. Normally if a credible fear interview is successful the asylum applicant is released on bond pending his Asylum hearing before an Immigration judge. If he fails in his credible fear interview, he still can request a hearing before an Immigration Judge except that he will not be released while he waits for his Asylum hearing.

My reckoning is that Amos Yee will not be released on bond. A judge among other considerations considering release should consider whether he will be a danger to himself or to the others or the community. Amos Yee is a religion hater, a hater of Islam and Christianity. He has insulted Islam and Christianity in Singapore which landed him in jail. The question for the American Immigration Judge is to decide whether his release to the community would be a danger to himself or others. We have seen the religious carnage in the not too long ago, Orlando shootings and San Bernardino shootings in the name of Islam. A judge will not allow this sort of thing to happen by releasing Amos Yee who may repeat his hate speech in the US resulting in others to retaliate with deadly force.

There should be no doubt that his release to the community would be a danger to himself or others. There is a serious danger that an self proclaimed religion hater like him would repeat his hate speech conduct in the United States. This may result in Muslims or Christians to retaliate. Although it is true that Americans have to right to say anything they want, Amos Yee is not American. The court need not release him to face racial violence in this country. Amos Yee does not have all the constitutional rights that an American citizen has.

I don't believe that he would be released on bail even if his credible fear interview is successful. He would be held in custody and I reckon in the end his asylum request would also be denied. This is not a case of protecting free speech. It is a case whether anti-Christ or Anti Islam hate speech should be given asylum protection in the United States.

Amos Yee has not suffered any past persecution at the hands of the Singapore government and neither has he any evidence of a well founded fear of future persecution at the hands of the Singapore government. He was merely given 2 short jail terms for hate speech against religion, a just and fair law in a multi racial crowded island. There is no evidence whatsoever that if he is returned to Singapore island he will be persecuted. And neither was he persecuted in the past. This is a man who believes he has a right to insult religions and therefore should be granted asylum in the US by reason thereof.

Another reason why his bail would be denied is his desire to avoid national service. National service is a universal requirement in the island of Singapore and the refusal to do it, shows bad moral character. In the United States, a draft dodger is even denied citizenship. This is a major point which will effect the judgment of the Immigration judge who will consider this whether to grant or deny asylum. An asylum applicant has to be of good moral character. A draft dodger does not have good moral character.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont (San Francisco) California
Tel: 510 491 8525

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Why profanity expletives laden Singaporean blogger Amos Yee should not be granted asylum in the US

updated 01/01/2016

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Gopalan Nair, an Attorney in California with over 20 years of experience. I have done hundreds of asylum cases countries from as far and wide as Tajikistan to Pakistan. My telephone number is (510) 491 8525 and my Email is I practice in the San Francisco area. Immigration is federal practice which allows me to represent client in all 50 states of the US.

I had earlier stated in my blog that I thought Amos Yee will be grated asylum. On re-looking at his case I have serious doubts that he will.

US grants asylum based on human rights under international laws and conventions such as the Human Rights Charter and its applicability to US law. If a country is seen to violate the rights of an individual under these laws and those rights are protected under US law, he is granted asylum.

It is true that freedom of speech is a protected ground. However this right is not examined in isolation but in relation to the prevailing circumstances in any country.

Singapore is a multi racial tiny island city state so overcrowded that people not only live next to each other but above them in high rise apartment blocks owned by the state. Jam packed like sardines. Therefore the possibility of racial disharmony and its consequences can be so serious that it will effectively even destroy the country. Realizing this, according to the laws of the Republic of Singapore, they have laws in place that criminalize words or conduct that may cause distress to other races or religions.

Similarly in France and Germany it is a criminal offense to deny the Holocaust. Not to say that there is no freedom of speech in Germany but because the unique history of Nazism which is still raw in the minds of many Germans, the state felt there is a need to criminalize such conduct. As far as I know, there is no German charged with such an offense who ever got asylum in the United States.

Singapore should not be compared to the United States. It is a large country and its society is more sophisticated buttressed with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, part of it's social ethos. Singapore on the other hand is a tiny overcrowded multi racial city state with a mere 50 year history which has not had the history of the United States. What can be tolerated in the US does not necessarily become tolerable in that tiny island.

Singapore island has been lucky that since 1967 there has been no race riots. It is for this reason that the island justifies such laws.

These laws are applied equally and fairly without any discrimination. Also it has been said that because he was only 17, the state should go easy on him. But if a 17 year old can cause island wide riots like in 1967, he should be stopped for the sake of everyone.

Although I have not read or seen all his blogs and videos, he has gone to the extent of drawing caricatures  of trying to have sex with a crucifix and with the Islamic Holy book the Koran. If he is allowed to do this, what next? Should he be allowed to stand outside a Muslim mosque at Friday prayer and hold up a sign saying "F........K Islam". And if so would you not expect any violence from the Muslims? And would not the Singaporean ethnic Chinese retaliate? And what about the Indian Hindus?

The judge should in this case realize the peculiar circumstances of the tiny multi racial city state. Looking at it from that perspective, he should deny this asylum claim that the laws in place were fair and fairly applied to all Singaporeans. Remember he not only had these repulsive anti religion videos. He also, in the most foul language insulted the late Prime Minister and the Singapore government. But the government did not charge him for any of that. He was only charged for his anti religion speech in the crudest manner imaginable.

I don't think his lawyer the American Sandra Grossman has ever heard of Singapore before this, let alone the peculiar circumstances  of the multi racial tiny island city state of Singapore. And I would probably guess that the Immigration Judge who will hear this case does not know much about the island either. Singapore is not a high volume asylum traffic country to the US.

His case is now probably before the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and it may take several years before it gets to a judge. Of course, if he passes his credible fear interview, he will ordinarily be released on bail while he waits. If you wish to make your views heard and be of assistance in this case, you should first write to the jail where he presently held, at the following address and seek his Alien Registration Number (A number) by which he is identified. With this A number, whatever you write will readily go into his file.  His name is Amos Yee Pang Sang. Date of birth 1998

McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility
2200 N Seminary Ave
Woodstock, IL 60098
Tel: 312 347 2400

He is, I believe, presently under the jurisdiction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His case has not gone before the judge yet. His credible fear interview is handled by ICE. Their address is the following. You can write to them.

Chicago Field Office
101 West Congress Parkway, 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 347 2400

Although I don't believe the case has gone to the Immigration Court their address is

Chicago Immigration Court
525 West Van Buren Street, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60607
Tel: 312 697 5800

Finally the office of the government counsel, US Department of Homeland Security, who would be opposing this asylum clam is as follows.

DHS Office of Chief Counsel
525 W Van Buren St, Suite 701
Chicago, IL 60607
Tel: 312 542 8200

Anyone can write to these authorities and help them understand the situation in Singapore. You could refer to the Singapore Penal Code Sections under which he was charged, why you think the laws are necessary or otherwise and provide the videos and copies of his blog for which he was charged. I think this will help seek justice.

The authorities will be of course carrying out their own investigations but since this is such a high profile case, I am sure your input will be appreciated.

I hope that justice will be done.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525