SINGAPORE: Amos Yee, a former Singaporean YouTuber and activist, has had his projected discharge date moved up by more than a year.
According to a record from the Illinois Department of Correction, Yee’s revised discharge date is now 24 April 2025, whereas it was previously set for 8 October 2026.
Yee was relocated from Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison, to Danville Correctional Center, classified as a medium-security prison.
Initially granted parole on 7 Oct after serving roughly half of his six-year sentence for online grooming and soliciting explicit images from a minor, Yee’s release was short-lived.
The 25-year-old was taken back into custody in November for violating the terms of his parole, merely a month after his initial release.
Amos Yee sentenced in 2021 following his guilty plea to charges of grooming and possessing child pornography
Amos Yee was sentenced on 3 December 2021, following his guilty plea to charges of grooming and possessing child pornography.
Sixteen other charges were dropped as part of a plea deal that Yee had accepted. The court retroactively applied the jail term to his arrest in October 2020.
During previous court proceedings, it was revealed that Yee had initiated an “online courtship” with the 14-year-old victim in February 2019.
Despite the victim’s age disclosure, Yee persistently solicited her for nude photographs and engaged in roleplay and “sexual fantasies” until July 2019, utilizing WhatsApp to manipulate and entice her. Subsequently, he distributed the victim’s images online.
US marshals arrested Yee at his residence in Chicago’s Norwood Park East neighbourhood in October 2020.
He later pleaded guilty to the charges as part of an agreed plea deal.
Amos Yee’s controversial blog post led to his return to custody
Following his parole release on 7 Oct, Amos Yee stirred controversy with a blog post titled “Amos Yee’s Update after 3 Years in American Prison“.
In this post, he defended that he never manipulated the victim and controversially claimed his support for paedophilia.
He then wrote, “Frankly if I develop another close relationship with someone underage that I’m sexually attracted to, I’d break the law again, and do something sexual with that kid.”
In discussing the future, Yee expressed his intention to return to Singapore.
He recognized the risk of losing his asylum status in the United States, the prospect of imprisonment for evading national service in Singapore, and the dangers of criticizing the Singaporean government upon his return.
Despite the potential challenges and risks, Yee said he remains steadfast in his belief that he can make a meaningful contribution to society by returning to Singapore.
He expressed his determination to continue his political activism through his writing and his readiness to face potential arrests in order to protest what he perceives as “unjust laws.”
In another post published on 5 November, Amos Yee listed ‘six impressive things’ he wanted to do, including creating an organically popular website “make ‘defending Pedophiles’ popular”, and “make illegal public protests in Singapore popular”.
Amos Yee’s blog posts potentially triggered his re-incarceration due to his violation of parole conditions.
According to CNA, the Illinois Department of Corrections confirmed that Yee was readmitted for a parole violation.
The US Courts website stipulated that sex offenders on parole are prohibited from accessing the Internet, a condition that Yee violated by updating his blog.
Amos Yee’s video on Lee Kuan Yew results in dramatic arrest following multiple police reports in 2015
Amos Yee, at the age of 16, got into trouble in 2015 after making a video about the late Lee Kuan Yew after his passing. Eight police officers turned up at his home to arrest him in cuffs after more than 20 police reports were filed against him.
While some were in response to Yee’s passing remarks on Christianity but majority of the reports centered around him disparaging the revered political leader.
Yee was detained in police custody and eventually found guilty of the charge of obscenity for having uploaded a picture of the late Singapore prime minister in a sexual depiction with the former British prime minister, the late Margaret Thatcher and a charge of wounding the feelings of Christians for remarks he made in a video of Mr Lee and the Christian religious icon, Jesus Christ, which he had uploaded onto Youtube.
He was released on the spot in May 2015 after his sentence was read, as he had already been detained past the sentenced term by the judge.
Yee subsequently got into trouble again for his blog and video posts in 2017, where he was sentenced to six weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to six charges for wounding the religious feelings of Christians and Muslims.
Granted asylum in US
After being detained in December 2016 by US officials for declaring himself as a visitor to the country despite applying for political asylum in the US, a Chicago immigration judge concluded in March 2017 that the Singapore government persecuted Yee on account of his political opinion and that Yee is deserving of asylum as a matter of discretion.
Although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security filed an appeal against the decision to grant Yee asylum, the court of appeal upheld the decision of the immigration judge in September 2017.
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