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BRITISH AUTHOR FREED AND DEPORTED FROM SINGAPORE

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SINGAPORE - British author Alan Shadrake was freed today from a Singapore prison after more than a month in jail for contempt of court related to his book on the death penalty, an AFP photographer saw. Shadrake was whisked away from Changi prison in a van marked “Immigration and Checkpoints Authority,” the photographer said.
Alan Shadrake, 76, told AFP by mobile phone from Changi Airport before boarding a Singapore Airlines plane that he was in good health and "very, very happy" to be free again.
  • "I am now waiting for take-off and I will be at Heathrow (airport)," said the freelance journalist, whose book "Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock" drew ire from the corridors of power in the former British colony.
  • Shadrake said he had no regrets about writing the book, which is now on its second edition, and expected family members to welcome him in London after his more than 13-hour flight.
  • "It's very tiring being locked up. I just need to get back to my exercise routine," said the writer, who was deported nearly a year after he was arrested while visiting Singapore to launch the book.
  • It includes a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Changi Prison, located close to the airport from where Shadrake was deported.
  • According to the book, Singh hanged around 1,000 men and women including foreigners from 1959 until he retired in 2006.
  • It also features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, and alleges that some foreigners may have been spared from the gallows as a result of diplomatic and trade considerations.
Singapore executes murderers and drug traffickers by hanging, a controversial method of punishment dating back to British rule, and insists harsh penalties help keep its crime rates low.
Source: Agency
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