Singapore: An Indian-origin rapper was sentenced to six-weeks in jail on Tuesday for attempting to promote feelings of ill will between different racial and religious groups in Singapore.
Subhas Govin Prabhakar Nair, 31, was convicted of four charges in July for posting messages on social media between July 2019 and March 2021, which the prosecution described as inflammatory in nature.
Nair had responded to an Instagram video on July 25, 2020 in which the subjects had made remarks linking the gay pride movement to Satan, The Straits Times reported.
He wrote: “If two Malay Muslims made a video promoting Islam and saying the kinds of hateful things these Chinese Christians said, ISD (Internal Security Department) would have been at the door before they even hit ‘upload’.”
Nair, who removed the post in November 2020, admitted posting the messages during his trial earlier this year but denied he had done so in an attempt to promote ill will between different racial and religious groups in Singapore.
“If his intent was indeed to admonish hate speech as he claimed in court, there was no reason to draw specific attention to the race and religion of the people using the hate speech,” Deputy Public Prosecutors Suhas Malhotra and Jordon Li told the court.
Nair’s second and third charges involved another Instagram post which was his response to a news article linked to Chan Jia Xing, who was accused of murdering an Indian-origin man, The Straits Times reported.
Chan’s murder charge was later reduced, and he was given a conditional warning in October 2020, to which Nair responded via an Instagram post: “Calling out racism and Chinese privilege, two-year conditional warning and smear campaign in the media.”
“This post creates feelings of ill will between Chinese and Indians in Singapore…the accused’s post implied that the law enforcement authorities treat Indians far more severely than Chinese,” Prosecutor Malhotra had said during the trial in March.
The fourth charge was linked to a 2019 YouTube video of him and his sister Preeti Nair performing a song, which contained the lyrics: “Chinese people always out here f***ing it up”.
Nair explained during his March trial that the term “f***ing it up” referred to a person making a mistake, and did not mean that Chinese people are “f***ed up”.
He added that art may offend some people — especially when it is trying to improve society — and may also make some people feel “uncomfortable”.
Nair’s lawyer told the court on Tuesday that the musician maintains his position of not being guilty of the offences, and added that his client intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.
For attempting to promote feelings of ill will between racial or religious groups in Singapore, one can face a jail term of up to three years, a fine or both.