SINGAPORE — A man who posted threatening messages against a judge who dismissed challenges to Section 377A of the penal code was sentenced to seven months' jail on Thursday (22 April).
Singaporean Muhammad Hanif Mohamed Huzairi, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of communicating an electronic record containing an incitement to violence as well as another count of making threatening communication against a public servant under the Protection from Harassment Act.
Two other charges were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
District Judge Brenda Tan said that the judges and judiciary should be given necessary protection.
While not everyone may agree with the judge's decision, it was not acceptable to threaten the judge, said DJ Tan. She said that a "strong signal" had to be sent to deter like-minded offenders.
On 30 March last year, Justice See Kee Oon had dismissed three challenges to overturn Section 377A, the section which criminalises sex between men.
The challenges were filed by three men: retired general practitioner Roy Tan Seng Kee, former executive director of LGBT non-profit organisation Oogachaga Bryan Choong Chee Hoong, and disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming.
Upset and disappointed at the outcome, Hanif felt that the current judges had to be replaced. He commented on an Instagram post on the verdict by Pink Dot SG – a gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights advocacy group – and posted Instagram stories on his personal account which was public.
Instagram stories are only visible on one's profile for 24 hours.
What he wrote on Instagram
Hanif's Instagram account had 267 followers at the time. His first Instagram story post at 4.02pm on 30 March last year read: “To the dead*** boomer of a judge who dismissed the challenges against S377A, you better f***ing watch out!!”
His second Instagram story, uploaded about an hour later, stated, “Homophobic judges need to be put down immediately.”
Later in the evening, he posted a third Instagram story which stated that he was going to “begin his work on some death curses to be inflicted on” the judges. A fourth Instagram story called upon others to “torture the corrupted judges” until they “crumble and repeal S377A on the spot” as well as claimed that he would love to do so personally.
On the same day at 7.17pm, Hanif commented on Pink Dot SG’s public Instagram post, stating that it was “time to hunt down the oppressive judges, who basically maintained the legalisation of discrimination against us, and make them pay the ultimate price”.
At 11.30pm on the same day, a complainant lodged an online police report after viewing the comment, and subsequently, Hanif's Instagram stories.
The prosecution had called for at least seven months' jail.
If convicted of communicating an incitement to violence, he may be jailed up to five years, or fined, or both. For threatening a public servant, he can be jailed up to 12 months or fined up to $5,000, or both.
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