A Singaporean teenager pleaded not guilty Thursday to two charges over an online video he posted that was critical of Christianity and the nation’s late founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew.
Sixteen-year-old Amos Yee Pang Sang told a packed courtroom that he would not be taking the stand to provide further evidence in the case. Prosecutors said they did not plan to bring forward any witnesses.
Yee faces two charges: intending to wound the religious feelings of Christians and transmitting an obscene image over the Internet of Lee and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A third charge, making offensive remarks against Lee, has been stood down temporarily.
In an eight-minute clip that was posted on YouTube in March, Yee said Lee and Jesus were “both power-hungry and malicious,” among other derogatory comments mostly targeting Lee.
If found guilty, Yee could face jail time of up to three years, or an unspecified fine. His trial was adjourned until Friday afternoon, when prosecutors and his lawyer will submit their closing arguments. The judge may issue her verdict then or next week.
According to court documents shown to The Associated Press, Yee told police that he was raised Catholic but turned atheist by mid-2013.
Yee has spent about two weeks in jail. Arrested and charged in March, he was bailed out by a stranger, then defied one of his bail conditions – refraining from posting any public material online – and jailed again.
When he re-entered custody on April 30, Yee was slapped in the face by a stranger outside court. The assailant was arrested and is likely to be charged next week.