A British freelance journalist and author has been found guilty of contempt of court for criticising Singapore's judiciary in a recent book, according to national reports.

Alan Shadrake, who is based in Malaysia, was arrested in July when he visited Singapore to launch Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, which discusses the use of the death penalty, according to BBC News.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders launched an international petition last month, calling for his release. But today Shadrake was found guilty of contempt and will be sentenced next week. He also faces trial on defamation charges, according to national reports.

In a report by Reuters today, High Court Judge Quentin Loh is quoted as saying that Shadrake, 75, was "guilty of the offence of contempt by scandalising the court".

"He said the author would be given the opportunity to make amends for his comments in the book, but did not say if that would affect the sentencing, which was deferred until Nov 9," the report adds.

Contempt of court is punishable by a fine, prison or both under Singapore law, according to Reuters.

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