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In a media interview with Associated Press (AP), Human Rights Watch (HWR) deputy director Phil Robertson confirmed that teenager film-maker Amos Yee has been consistently harassed by the Singapore for criticizing the government leaders like Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Calling Amos Yee a “classic political dissident”, the HWR deputy director said he fits the exact status of a refugee:

“He has been consistently harassed by the Singapore government for publicly expressing his views on politics and religion and severely criticizing the city-state’s leaders, including late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. He has faced intensive government surveillance and monitoring of his public and online comments. Amos Yee is the sort of classic political dissident that the U.N. Refugee Convention was designed to protect, and Human Rights Watch hopes the U.S. will recognize his asylum claim.”

According to an interview with South China Morning Post, Amos Yee’s US lawyer, Sandra Grossman, said:

“He would have to undergo a “credible fear interview” by an asylum official who would assess if he faces a credible fear of persecution or torture back home. She said the process usually takes a few days, but the holiday season could delay it. He would then appear before an immigration judge, but that could take years because of backlogs in the immigration system.”

Amos Yee won a local film-making prize at 13 and his eloquence is recognized as a rare talent in Singapore. His video criticizing Lee Kuan Yew when the former dictator just died in March 2015 hit a nerve of the current Prime Minister who was supposedly grieving for his father. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ordered his government mechanism and the police to arrest the 17-year-old teenager and jailed him for over 50 days when the trial was still ongoing.