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British journalist jailed and fined in Singapore

Authorities dismiss apology as a "ploy"

A Singapore court has sentenced Alan Shadrake, the British author and journalist, to six weeks in jail and a fine of SGD$15,400 (£9,600) for attacking the country's judiciary in a book.

Shadrake criticised the city-state's death penalty in his book "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore's Justice in the Dock". He particularly referred to Singapore's executioner who put about 1,000 men and women to death over 47 years.

The judge is said to have dismissed a last minute apology by the freelance journalist as a ploy.

He noted that a "dissembling and selective background of truths and half-truths, and sometimes outright falsehoods" adopted by the author may mislead a casual and unwary reader, who might lose confidence in Singapore's justice system.

The judge said Shadrake has to serve another two weeks in jail if he fails to pay the designated fine.

However, Shadrake said: "I don't have that kind of money," adding that he had expected the jail term and an even larger fine since his arrest when he launched the book in July.