Singaporean man pleads guilty to threatening judge on Instagram over dismissal of Section 377A challenges | Singapore


Muhammad Hanif Mohamed Huzairi pleaded guilty to two counts of communicating an electronic record containing an incitement to violence, as well as another charge of using threatening words under the Protection from Harassment Act. — Reuters pic

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SINGAPORE, March 23 — Upset that the High Court had dismissed three constitutional challenges to the law criminalising consensual sex between men last year, Muhammad Hanif Mohamed Huzairi made several threats against the ruling judge and the Singapore judiciary in general on Instagram.

Yesterday, the 31-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to two counts of communicating an electronic record containing an incitement to violence, as well as another charge of using threatening words under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Two other similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing on April 22.

Hanif directed one of his posts towards Justice See Kee Oon, who had dismissed the challenges seeking to strike down the legal provision against male homosexual acts in Section 377A of the Penal Code. Others were directed at judges in general.

Following the judge’s verdict on March 30 last year, Pink Dot SG — a group that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights in Singapore — issued a statement on its Instagram account expressing its disappointment.

Hanif was closely following the case of Johnson Ong Ming, a disc jockey who had mounted one of the challenges.

He grew “very upset and disappointed” when the case was dismissed and felt that the current judges had to be replaced, the court heard.

He then posted a comment on Pink Dot SG’s post, saying: “Time to hunt down the oppressive judges, who basically maintained the legislation of discrimination against us, and make them pay the ultimate price.”

He also posted four Instagram Stories, which remain on a user’s profile for 24 hours, from about 4pm to 8pm on March 30. His account was open to the public and he had 267 followers at the time.

His Instagram username was redacted in court documents. He had posted these comments:

“To the deadass boomer of a judge who dismissed the challenges against 377A, you better f***ing watch out!!”

“Homophobic judges need to be put down immediately”

“Gonna begin my work work (sic) on some death curses to be inflicted upon the oppressive judicial (expletive)”

“Can we please torture the corrupted judges until they f***ing crumble & repeal S377A on the spot!? Pretty please; I’d love to personally torture them to their breaking point”

Prosecutors called for at least seven months’ jail, arguing that a stiff sentence was “necessary to send a resounding signal to the accused and any like-minded individuals that threats to judges and incitements to violence borne out of unhappiness with a judicial decision have no place in a civil society”.

They noted that Hanif had not only threatened a judge but the judiciary as a whole, and had demonstrated contempt for Justice See by referring to him as a “deadass boomer” and accusing him of legalising discrimination.

The fact that he subsequently deleted his posts was of little mitigating value, the prosecutors added.

For using threatening words towards a public servant, he could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$5,000 (about RM15,341) or both.

For communicating an electronic record containing an incitement to violence, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined or both.

The Section 377A civil suits were brought by three gay men — Ong, 43; former executive director of advocacy group Oogachaga Bryan Choong, 42; and retired general practitioner Roy Tan Seng Kee, 61 — who challenged the constitutionality of Section 377A.

The cases were mounted following an Indian court’s decision to lift a ban on consensual gay sex in September 2018.

In dismissing them, Justice See ruled that the High Court was bound by the principles of legal precedent by the nation’s highest court, the Court of Appeal, in its reasoning and conclusions in a case in 2014, which was the last time a challenge was mounted to the legal provision. — TODAY



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