Man charged for posting online threats on judge who nixed repeal of Section 377A

The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A 30-year-old Singaporean was accused of posting threatening messages to a High Court judge who dismissed challenges to a law which criminalises sex between men earlier this year.

Muhammad Hanif Mohamed Huzairi was handed three charges of inciting violence and two charges under the Protection from Harassment Act on Thursday (13 August), related to four Instastory posts and a comment made on 30 March. Instastory posts are made through the popular photo sharing application Instagram.

His posts and comment – allegedly made between 4.02pm and 7.49pm – was targetted at the judge who dismissed the challenges against Section 377A of the Penal Code, and called upon others to “torture” and “hunt” the judge down.

On the same date, Justice See Kee Oon had dismissed three challenges which sought to overturn Section 377A, which states that any man who commits, abets, or procures any act of gross indecency with another man, in public or in private, can be jailed for up to two years.

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.

Hanif’s Instastory posts and comment

Hanif’s first post, said to be made towards Justice See, allegedly stated in relation to the execution of his duty, “To the dead*** boomer of a judge who dismissed the challenges against S377A, you better f***ing watch out!!”

Hanif is said to have incited violence in a second Instastory post, uploaded at about 5.02pm, which allegedly stated, “Homophobic judges need to be put down immediately.”

Hours later, he is said to have posted a comment on an Instagram post by Pink Dot SG, a pro-LGBT movement in Singapore. His comment allegedly stated, “Time to hunt down the oppressive judges, who basically maintained the legalisation of discrimination against us, and make them pay the ultimate price.”

In the same evening, Hanif allegedly posted a third Instastory which stated that he was going to “begin his work on some death curses to be inflicted on” the judges. His words are said to have caused alarm to a Benjamin Joshua Ong, who saw the post.

Hanif is then said to have posted a fourth Instastory which called upon others to “torture the corrupted judges” until they “crumble and repeal S377A on the spot”. He allegedly claimed that he would love to do so personally.

Hanif will return to court on 26 August, when he is expected to plead guilty.

If convicted on communicating an incitement to violence, he may be jailed up to five years, or fined, or both. If convicted on using threatening words to cause alarm, he can be fined up to $5,000. 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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