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Jailed American Teen-Ager Under Stress Awaiting Clemency Decision

May 3, 1994

SINGAPORE (AP) _ The mother of an American teen-ager sentenced to be lashed said today her son was in good spirits but needed sedatives to sleep while awaiting a decision on his mercy plea.

Randy Chan said her son, Michael Fay, was being well-treated in prison, where he is serving a four-month term for spray-painting cars and other acts of vandalism under Singapore’s harsh laws.

″Basically he’s just waiting and that’s very stressful,″ she said.

Prior to his imprisonment, Fay had taken the sedative Valium and other, more powerful drugs to control attention deficit disorder, a condition which causes compulsive and disruptive behavior.

Last Saturday, the Prisons Department said it was weaning Fay off the other drugs with a decreasing daily dose of Valium.

Mrs. Chan said she hoped her son would continue to get a sedative, but on Saturday she expressed concern he might become addicted if given large continuous doses.

″It’s very, very difficult (for him) to sleep right now, waiting for us to find about the clemency,″ she said today.

Fay, an 18-year-old high school senior, submitted the clemency plea to President Ong Teng Cheong on April 20. There has been no word from the government, but several senior officials have said it was unlikely Fay would be spared the lash.

Mrs. Chan spoke after emerging from Queenstown Prison, where she and her businessman husband, Marco Chan, met with Michael for about 30 minutes.

″Michael’s in good spirits,″ Mrs. Chan said. ″I’ve told him he’s got a lot of support out here. He just told me again to hang in there. He’s anxious to hear about the clemency. He doesn’t understand why we haven’t heard yet.″

Mrs. Chan and Michael’s father, George Fay, were divorced nine years ago. George Fay now lives in Kettering, Ohio. The Chans have lived in Singapore since 1992.

The parents are allowed to visit Fay every two weeks. U.S. Embassy officials, who last saw him Saturday, are likewise permitted visits about every 14 days.

The case has drawn international attention and raised questions about whether Fay’s punishment fits his crime and if America’s more liberal legal system contributes to its high crime rate.

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