A Singapore teenager who posted online a video that was deemed offensive to Christians, and an obscene image of late leader Lee Kuan Yew, was released after a court sentenced him on Monday to jail time already served.
The case reignited concerns about censorship and social controls in the Southeast Asian financial hub, and has drawn criticism from human rights activists.
Amos Yee, 16, was sentenced to four weeks of imprisonment from June 2, which means he could be released immediately after spending 50 days in custody.
Yee's lawyer said the teenager would appeal against both the conviction and sentence.
Yee posted a video that included unflattering references to Jesus in late March, shortly after the death of Lee, who was Singapore's first prime minister and was widely revered as the country’s founding father. He also posted on his blog a lewd image in which the faces of Lee and late British politician Margaret Thatcher were superimposed.
Yee was charged with spreading obscene images, offending a religious group, and harassment. The latter charge was dropped.
Opposition parties and human rights groups have long accused Singapore's leaders of stifling freedom of speech through private lawsuits and government policies. Leaders have insisted that they have the right to protect their reputations against false allegations, and that laws limiting some public speech are necessary to help preserve social stability in the multi-ethnic island nation.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took the stand in court for nearly seven hours to answer questions from blogger Roy Ngerng — whom he successfully sued for defamation — as the court tried to decide how much Ngerng should pay in damages.
Lee sued Ngerng for a blog post last year in which the defendant was alleged to have implicated Lee in impropriety connected with how funds in Singapore's mandatory retirement savings program are managed.