Amos Yee, seeking political asylum, detained in US
Blogger Amos Yee has been detained in the United States, his mother Mary Toh wrote on Facebook yesterday. In a post that she made in the evening, Ms Toh said her son was seeking political asylum in the US.
She added: "The matter is now with his lawyers. I will not be speaking to the press or anyone on this matter."
According to the US' Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, as of yesterday an "Amos Pang Sang Yee" from Singapore is currently detained at the McHenry Adult Correctional Facility, about an hour's drive from Chicago.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported yesterday that the 18-year-old was detained after landing at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Dec 16, trying to seek political asylum.
Ms Melissa Chen, a US-based Singaporean civil activist involved in Yee's asylum bid, told SCMP she last spoke to him on Thursday via a video link.
She said he had entered the US with a tourist visa but was detained after a secondary screening where he told border control officers that he was seeking asylum.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, asylum may be granted to those who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country.
This must be due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of the asylum seeker's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
Asylum seekers may be detained while their case is examined. US law states that a decision on an application should be made within 180 days after it is filed, but this can take longer in practice.
Mr Yee has served two prison terms in Singapore for wounding religious feelings.