SINGAPORE – A man was sentenced to seven months’ jail on Thursday (April 22) for offences including threatening a High Court judge and the Singapore judiciary, after challenges against Section 377A of the Penal Code – that criminalises sex between men – were dismissed in March last year.
He incited violence against them on social media platform Instagram.
Muhammad Hanif Mohamed Huzairi pleaded guilty last month to one count of using threatening words towards a public servant under the Protection from Harassment Act.
The 31-year-old Singaporean also admitted to two counts of communicating an electronic record containing an incitement to violence.
Hanif had directed his posts at Justice See Kee Oon, who dismissed the challenges seeking to overturn the legal provision against male homosexual acts in Section 377A of the Penal Code.
The court heard that Hanif was very upset when he found out that the constitutional challenges were dismissed.
He felt that the judges had to be replaced and expressed his displeasure by posting Instagram stories and commenting on Pink Dot SG’s Instagram post.
Pink Dot SG is a pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) event held in Singapore every year.
At around 4pm on March 30 last year, Hanif posted an Instagram story on his account, which was public, saying: “To the deadass boomer of a judge who dismissed the challenges against S377A, you better… watch out!!”
Instagram stories remain on a user’s profile for 24 hours. Hanif’s Instagram account had 267 followers at the time of his offences.
Three hours later, he posted a comment on Pink Dot SG’s Instagram post saying: “Time to hunt down the oppressive judges, who basically maintained the legalisation of discrimination against us, and make them pay the ultimate price.”
A second Instagram story posted about half an hour later called for the torture of the “corrupted judges” until they “crumble and repeal S377A on the spot”.
A complainant lodged a police report against Hanif that day at around 11.30pm after seeing the threats of violence.
The Section 377A legal challenges had been filed by LGBT rights activist and retired medical professional Roy Tan, disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming and LGBT non-profit organisation Oogachaga’s former executive director Bryan Choong.
Justice See dismissed the challenges, rejecting arguments that the law is unconstitutional and defending the decision not to proactively enforce it.
Offenders convicted of using threatening words towards a public servant can be jailed for up to a year and fined for each charge.
For each charge, those convicted of communicating an electronic record containing an incitement to violence can be jailed for up to five years and fined.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.