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


BC said...

Are you doing this because he had refused your fees for your offer to act for him? what if he had agreed to your fees and let you handle his case? Would your story have turned out quite differently?

Unknown said...

This brilliant young man has cooked up a clever hidden agenda by
deliberately creating public turmoil to provoke negative reactions
from the Singapore Government and thereby using the unfavourable
outcomes to be used as basis for seeking asylum in the USA.
Unfortunately not many are able to see through his uncanny plan
and fall for the trick.

Anonymous said...

This self proclaimed Anachist is man is an instigator and provocateur who has no real agenda now except to avoid national service. His wild rumblings and episodes with the law and public have been a series of opportunistic occurrences and not strategically planned as some would think. Least we all forget that he started all this to increase the number of views of his YouTube postings to make was never about free speech or to shake up the political system. He is just an opportunistic attention whore. My vote as a US citizen is to send him back, we have enough trouble makers here and do not need to allow this guy in our country. Deport him, we do not approve.

Gopalan Nair said...

To BC,
Thank you. The short answer to your question is no. I would have represented him had he engaged us regardless. But our opinion as to whether he would get asylum would remain unlikely. I do not take asylum cases because they will succeed. I take them as long as there is a colorable claim. People file asylum cases primarily because they want to live in the US. If they don't succeed in asylum, there are several other options while they live years in the US. It appears you are not aware of how US immigration law works.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Tony,
I would not characterize him as brilliant. Confused would be a better description.

Anonymous said...


I'm amazed at your ability to write off the abuse & suffering of another person
while endlessly blogging about your own grievances.

White privilege seeping into your blood, my friend? It's lovely hearing someone
who's had every ability & opportunity to defend himself in a court of law take
the side of "religions" that are founded upon a fundamental notion of delusion
and abuse through, for one, turning so-called "non-believers" into "enemies".
Have you been so quick to forget about the violence & abuse, much of which was
sanctioned and even encouraged by "religion", perpetrated in the land of our

How much do you know about mental health issues? Singapore is a terribly
abusive society yet you, for some unidentifiable reason, expect "good moral
character" from someone who's certainly, in my humble opinion at least, in no
mental or emotional state to behave according to your narrow, short-sighted
definition of "good"?

Amos Yee may say things that offend, he may create animations and/or drawings
(most of which I must admit I have not consumed myself) but are these any worse
than the *actual* contents of the so-called "holy books" of these "religions"
which you so vehemently believe have been "insulted"? Are these any worse than
the *actual* heinous acts committed by the most fervent "believers"?

You may not be any different from the very Singaporeans that you have so
exhaustively blogged about over the past decade or so.

Kenneth J Howard said...


I agree with BC and Anonymous above. Your posts since you first commented on the situation to this last post, reeks of sour grapes. Your assessment that he will not likely be granted asylum flies in the face of logic and asylum laws of the US. Do you even know the law and criteria or are you so blinded by sour grapes that you cannot see? Criticizing religion and LKY together and being jailed for that is not a reason to reject a US asylum application, quite the contrary actually. he has a strong case for asylum

One more thing Gopalan Nair, i.e. Mr. "Immigration lawyer",  Yee is a Singapore citizen who entered the US under the "visa waiver" program and also the online ESTA application. This means he's not eligible for a 'credible fear interview' to examine an asylum seeker's basis for claiming persecution or torture in his or her home country. Such interviews are ONLY for individuals who do not enter the United States with a visa waiver, and who are therefore eligible for expedited removal.

So all your posts on Yee's upcoming "credible fear interview" is not correct. He has to go directly to the judge. Can you get your personal feelings and emotions under control and do some research before you write?

Kenneth J Howard said...

This is Ken Howard again.

One more thing Gopalan. Since you first blogged about Amos Yee after Lee Kuan Yew’s death, you praised him sky high and said he was being persecuted. Also in your post dated December 2rd you said and I quote: “But even in Chicago, I think he [Amos Yee] will succeed in his asylum claim. The Singapore government has clearly been persecuting him.” Now you do a U-turn? It just proves the point that you are bitter at him not hiring you!

Also in your December 23rd post, you said “I do not consider my revelations here [concerning Amos Yee] a breach of professional lawyer client confidentiality since he was never my client and the public are entitled to know these facts.” I would not be so sure if I was you! As I read California bar rules, it (and also the ABA model rules) clearly state you are not to reveal facts about “clients” or cause embarrassment to them! It is clear this includes prospective clients who have shared information with you on their cases REGARDLESS of whether they hire you or pay you! Read California bar opinions, decisions and case law! Again, READ Gopalan before you write and shoot yourself in the foot! Read, keep your emotions under control and write objectively!

Leo Sphinx said...

"Yee is free to contact me if he wants throughout these proceedings and I will help all I can. Friends, there is no need to be intimidated by these multi millionaire corrupt thugs who pay themselves millions and run Singapore island. Stand up to them. " I think that is what you said in May 29 and may I know would are you going to help him if he had been willing to pay the fees? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

If Amos could succeed while playing the system, we should congratulate him.
My path to obtaining permanent residency in US and Canada takes 10 years (from Med school to EB2 immigrant visa) after wasting my 2 and 1/2 years doing NS under the Lee regime.
If Amos could find a way to bypass that, I would say 'Good for him!'

Dr. Chan

Thambiraj Yogalingam said...

"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."

For years you have been decrying the Singapore NS system and telling Singaporeans not to serve, leave the counrty and not go back. You even proudly proclaimed that your own son who was called up for NS is refusing to serve and will not go back (see your past posts. So all other "draft dodgers are good (including your son), but Amos Yee has "bad moral character?" Hmm, something is rotten in the state of Denmark, as Shakespeare said... As a poster above said Gopalan, you fail to read, even you OWN words and contradict yourself based on emotions at any given time.

Yee does NOT want you as his lawyer (especially not now after your childish and vindictive behavior) and you WILL NOT get the publicity you crave by representing such a high-profile Singapore dissident. Get over it! Seems LKY's vindictiveness lives on in you dear Gopalan. You made the choice not to represent hi pro bono but some other lawyer did, so you are upset? Grow up!

Gopalan Nair said...

To Yogalingam,

I think you are barking up the wrong tree. I am not in law practice looking for publicity for free representation. Publicity is irrelevant. I have more than enough work than I can handle, thank you. If a client is needy we do provide free representation. This case was not one deserving free representation, publicity or otherwise.

Second, my observation on this case was a reckoning on the law. He is a man who has been criminally convicted on a law that proscribes religious hate speech in a multi racial island. In spite of all the faults of Singapore being a one party dictatorship, I don't think anyone can fault a law such as this. Because this man was lawfully convicted on a law with which one cannot take issue with, I feel his claim is weak if his demand is that he be allowed to insult religions in any way he wants in that island.

Then I mentioned his refusal to do national service. I mentioned this only in relation to his asylum claim. Any judge looking at a case where the applicant openly refuses to do national service cannot be seen as a person of good moral character, regardless of the political system in that island. Generally a refusal to serve national service is not a ground of asylum in US and international law. I have heard of some Eritreans being granted asylum on this ground but under their law, national service can be an indeterminate period of time, even 10 years!

It is true that I have in the past and even now encouraged young men to refuse to serve and leave that island. My motivation is to hurt this one party police state in the island and expose it. If more people leave it will hurt them more. As they are already doing now.

But my observation here is about this man's bid for asylum. Perhaps Shakespeare may have also said that one shouldn't be barking up the wrong tree.

Gopalan Nair said...


I am not sure if you have read his case. He has criticized the Singapore government, their leaders and the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the most disgusting prurient manner possible. But the Singapore government has not taken any action against him for any of this. He was free to criticize as much as he wanted. I am truly surprised.

He has however been convicted only for his religious hate speech, a law which is compelling in a multi racial overcrowded tiny island where I suppose you Yogalingam live too.

Since we are now quoting Shakespeare, I wonder what he would have said about someone spouting his mouth simply not knowing what he is saying!

If I were you perhaps you should look at the issues here. Here is a man who claims that he is entitled to asylum in the United States only because he was jailed for intentionally hurting religious feelings in a multi racial overcrowded tiny island. Just think of that.

Unknown said...

What a hyppcrite; a complete change of tune from the consistent "stand" you have made for not weeks, not months but years about the sanctity of freedom of speech and human rights. All these years when you were ranting on the topic, you never once mentioned the caveats of Singapore's crowdedness and multi-racialism as justification, not once! Any mere mention of that by anybody in the comment section would be vehemently overturned by you.

The reason I use quotation marks on the word stand is because, we can all see clearly now how you are a man with no stand, no values, no principles. Your words, your "stand" sway according to how the winds turn and how your own agenda changes.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Miss America,

Unfounded accusations and intemperate language does not further your cause. I do believe in free speech but I do also believe that shouting fire in a crowded cinema is wrong.

Anonymous said...

If Amos Yee had used civil language and behavior in his videos, he could have said, "I'm an atheist, and I disagree with Islam, Christianity and other religions for the following reasons......I also believe that some religious people interpret certain scriptures in their holy books to treat others unjustly."

If he had said that, instead of using foul language and desecrating Bibles and Qurans, then his message would have been far more effective, and he probably would not have been sent to jail or fined.

(From Jacques, I've posted several times before.)

Thambiraj Yagalingam said...

"Unfounded accusations and intemperate language does not further your cause." Agreed, but in your case, your own words from your blog stretching back years, furthers the cause and confirms Ms.America's views that you are inconsistent in your views. Your analogy of shouting "fire in a corded theater" does not apply to you and your inconsistent views on freedom of speech and national service.

You really have it in for Amos for not paying your fees or hiring you, don't you? Anyway, we will see whether he gets asylum or not after his hearing. Let us see if you are correct in your legal assessment that he will fail to get asylum. If he succeeds, you have severe egg on your face, if not, good for you for being correct.

Gopalan Nair said...

Thanmirag writes that if Mr. Yee gets asylum, I have egg in my face. The law is nothing like an exact science.

It is not like saying that 2 and 2 must be 4. In my long years in practice as a lawyer, law training in England, 10 law practice in Singapore, 22 years law practice in California and US Federal Courts, many times I have believed that my client was right. Turns out the court thought otherwise, and vice versa. If I am right, so it is, if I am wrong, so it is too.

Asylum law although based on UN treaties conventions US law statutes and authorities, is also based on discretion. Just like any other area of law. Who ever thought that OJ Simpson would be acquitted! But he was! Although I might think otherwise, the judge may decide to grant. I cannot say one way or the other except to stat my opinion.

Unknown said...
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