A US citizen has been arrested in Singapore for allegedly insulting a judge in an email.

Gopalan Pallichadath Nair was arrested on Saturday and charged with "threatening, abusing or insulting a public servant", the Singapore Police Force said in a statement.

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Nair allegedly sent the email to Singapore's attorney general and solicitor general last week, criticising Singapore Supreme Court Judge Belinda Ang's handling of a hearing to assess damages in a defamation lawsuit brought by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long and Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew against Chee Soon Juan, the secretary-general of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, and his sister, Chee Siok Chin, the Straits Times reported.

The letter was posted on Nair's blog.

Nair, a lawyer and former member of Singapore's opposition Workers' Party, became a US citizen in 2005.

Under Singaporean law, Nair faces a fine of up to S$5,000 (US$3,669) and one year in prison if he is convicted, the Straits Times reported.