Man admits inciting violence, threatening judge who dismissed Section 377A challenges

Man admits inciting violence, threatening judge who dismissed Section 377A challenges

Pink Dot light up 2019
The traditional light-up for the Pink Dot event in 2019 spelled out a call to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men. (Photo: Cindy Co)

SINGAPORE: Disappointed and very upset after a judge dismissed three challenges to Section 377A of the penal code, which criminalises sex between men, a man made multiple threatening posts on social media against the judge who made the ruling.

Muhammad Hanif Mohamed Huzairi, 31, pleaded guilty on Monday (Mar 22) to two counts of communicating an incitement to violence and one count of making threatening communication against a public servant. Another two charges will be considered in sentencing.

The court heard that the victim, Justice See Kee Oon, upheld on Mar 30 last year that Section 377A is constitutional after three men mounted challenges against it: Disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming, retired general practitioner Roy Tan Seng Kee and Bryan Choong Chee Hoong, the former executive director of LGBT non-profit organisation Oogachaga.

READ: High Court judge dismisses all three challenges to Section 377A

After the verdict, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) support organisation Pink Dot SG issued a statement on Instagram expressing its disappointment at the result.

Hanif, who was closely following the case, felt very upset and disappointed when he heard that the challenge was dismissed. He felt that the current judges "had to be replaced", the court heard.

He made comments on Pink Dot SG's post, as well as his own public Instagram account, which had 267 followers at the time, containing threats and incitements to violence.

He posted an Instagram story at 4.02pm on Mar 30, 2020, saying: "To the deadass boomer of a judge who dismissed the challenges against S377A, you better f****** watch out!!"

He followed this with a comment on Pink Dot SG's Instagram post at 7.17pm that day, writing: "Time to hunt down the oppressive judges, who basically maintained the legalisation of discrimination against us, and make them pay the ultimate price."

At 7.49pm, he posted another InstaStory that said: "Can we please torture the corrupted judges until they f****** crumble & repeal S377A on the spot!? Pretty please, I'd love to personally torture them to their breaking point.."

HE THREATENED JUDGE AND JUDICIARY: PROSECUTOR

The prosecution is calling for at least seven months' jail for Hanif, saying the judiciary "must be inoculated from threats aimed at intimidating them into adjudicating otherwise than in accordance with the law".

"As judges are expected to remain above the fray of controversial disputes, they cannot publicly defend themselves against such threats," they said, adding that it falls upon the law to "protect its guardians".

READ: Three court challenges to Section 377A: A summary of key arguments

The prosecutors added that Hanif not only threatened a judge but the judiciary as an institution, stressing that "any unhappiness with judicial decisions, however controversial, should be aired respectfully, and challenges to judicial decisions should be made through proper legal avenues".

The threat Hanif made had the potential to inflame the emotions of individuals who viewed it, and he knew that the issue was a highly divisive one, which meant the post would gain significant traction and viewership, the prosecutors said.

They added that Hanif demonstrated contempt for Justice See, a senior member of the judiciary, by referring to him as a "deadass boomer" and accusing him of legalising discrimination.

Hanif will return to court next month for sentencing.

For communicating an incitement to violence, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined, or both. For making threatening communication against a public servant, he could be jailed up to a year, fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(ac)

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