With his United States asylum bid tentatively hanging in the balance post-court hearing, Singaporean not-a-boy-not-yet-a-man Amos Yee said he is afraid of being deported back to Singapore.
The 18-year-old made this comment in a March 10 interview with The Associated Press via phone from "a Wisconsin detention center" where he is currently held.
“I’m most definitely fearful now that the Singapore government knows I am trying to escape to another country so I can continue to criticize them freely,” Yee told The Associated Press by phone from a Wisconsin detention center. “I’m really worried.”
AP also reported that Yee said being jailed in Singapore was a traumatising experience that left the teenager with suicidal thoughts.
It also reported that Yee said he believes he will be targeted by the state again if he returns to Singapore.
However, in a Facebook post on Jan. 26, 2017, Yee freely admitted that he had lied about wanting to kill himself in prison:
Yee wrote in the post:
... this picture of me leaving court looking traumatized was an act, and all the blog posts where I said I was depressed or suicidal in jail was a lie, all the while I felt completely fine in jail and honestly I created that act because it would create the greatest emotional reaction.
Yee also told AP he will continue to speak freely even if he returns to Singapore. He said he plans to sell T-shirts and work on movies.
Yee has been detained in the U.S. since mid-December 2016. He was taken into custody at O’Hare International Airport.
Two days before this AP interview, his closed-door immigration hearing in a Chicago courtroom concluded with a judge saying he’ll decide what will become of Yee in a few weeks' time.
The court would have to decide if Yee, who had served two jail terms in Singapore for wounding religious feelings, was legitimately prosecuted for violating Singapore law or was persecuted for his speech.
Meanwhile, some Singaporeans are reeling at the thought Yee might ultimately return: