Amos Yee Released from U.S. Custody

Amos Yee

Amos Yee, a teenage blogger from Singapore, left his homeland in December with the intention of seeking U.S. asylum. But federal immigration agents detained the 18-year-old at O’Hare International Airport and he had been behind bars since.

Yee was first arrested and convicted of “wounding religious feelings” and “obscenity” in 2015 after he made a video mocking Christianity. Millions of people have watched this video in which he proclaimed, "Lee Kuan Yew is dead — finally!" referring to Singapore's founder who is venerated by many within the island nation for his role in shaping the country. Though he was handed a jail sentence of multiple weeks, the court awarded him “time served” for how long he had been in custody and basically let him go.

Last summer, they came after him again, because he continued posting his videos. “Five of the charges Yee faces are for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Muslims, and one for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Christians. These charges are under Section 298 of the Penal Code,” Channel NewsAsia reported at that time.

According to the National Post, the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed in a decision — issued last week and received by attorneys Tuesday — that Amos Yee had a “well-founded fear” of being persecuted upon return to Singapore. The board determined that the Chicago judge correctly relied on expert and witness testimony in asylum proceedings earlier this year. U.S. Department of Homeland Security attorneys opposed Yee’s asylum bid.

Singapore’s government criticized the March decision, with the Ministry of Home Affairs saying the U.S. “allows such hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech.” With asylum status, Yee will be eligible to apply for a green card in a year, attorneys said. “We welcome the board’s decision and we welcome it because it’s a decision that’s grounded in law and in fact,” said Yee attorney Sandra Grossman. “He was persecuted because of political beliefs.”

“I’ll continue leading life as usual,” Yee said Tuesday. “I have plans for more videos, much of it criticizing the Singapore government, but I think maybe I broaden my work to U.S. politics too, since I’m here.” On the basis of his words, it is certain that we will hear about Yee in the future.

Photo Credits: Must Share News

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