It sounds like Shadrake opened up a bag of worms the authorities would rather have kept tightly closed, particularly regarding serious inconsistencies in sentencing. The blurb reads :
Over the past few decades, investigative journalism has come to mean the kind of brave reporting that exposes injustice, wrongdoing and, above all, the abuse of power. Alan Shadrake’s hard-hitting new book cuts through the façade of official silence to reveal disturbing truths about Singapore’s use of the death penalty. From in-depth interviews with Darshan Singh, Singapore’s chief executioner for nearly fifty years, to meticulously researched accounts of numerous high profile cases, Once A Jolly Hangman reveals the cruelty and imprudence of an entire judicial system. At the same time he displays a touching empathy with the anguish of the victims and their families. This important book should be required reading for human rights activists everywhere.The Online Citizen looks at what exactly might have rattled the Singapore authorities.
The book can be purchased in Malaysia from Kinibooks and SIRD, but in Singapore, although the book was not banned, bookshops were ordered to take it off the shelves.
But there's always a positive side to book banning - it invariably highlights the books we really ought to read, and I hope that as a result of his arrest, the issues highlighted by Shadrake will be debated in a larger arena.
Shadrake has been released on bail.