Singaporean blogger Amos Yee detained by U.S. officials while seeking political asylum
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Singaporean blogger Amos Yee detained by U.S. officials while seeking political asylum

OUTSPOKEN Singaporean blogger Amos Yee, known for stirring up controversy in his home country, is being detained by U.S. immigration officials, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday.

Amos Yee, 18, who was jailed earlier this year in the Southeast Asian city-state, was stopped by customs agents at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 16 as he sought political asylum in the United States, his mother said.

Amos is being detained in the US right now. He is seeking political asylum in the US. The matter is now with his lawyers. I will not be speaking to the press or anyone on this matter,” Mary Toh, Yee‘s mother, said in a statement posted to Facebook on Friday evening Singapore time.

Amos is being detained in the US right now. He is seeking political asylum in the US. The matter is now with his lawyers. I will not be speaking to the press or anyone on this matter.

Posted by Mary Toh on Friday, December 23, 2016

Yee has been jailed twice in Singapore for online comments. His trials, which have been closely watched by rights groups and the United Nations, have fueled the debate in Singapore over censorship and the limits of free speech.

Yee is in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pending federal immigration court proceedings, Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an email.

Montenegro declined to provide further details of why Yee was detained, where he was being held or if he had any legal representation.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ralph Piccirilli also said the agency had “encountered” Yee, but declined further comment.

The Singapore embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: Singapore: Teen blogger Amos Yee jailed six weeks over religious insults

In September, Yee pleaded guilty to six charges of deliberately posting comments on the internet – in videos, blog posts and a picture – that were critical of Christianity and Islam. He was sentenced to six weeks in jail.

Last year, Yee was convicted on charges of harassment and insulting a religious group over comments he made about former premier Lee Kuan Yew and Christians soon after Lee’s death. His sentence at the time amounted to four weeks in jail. – Reuters