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on July 31, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite

(i am very sorry for your situation. this response is assuming you cannot find any way to get out of jail. i hope you do though.)

i had a friend from the internet who went to jail before. we used to run topsites together back in the day. he would usually wind up getting the boxes and affiliations, and i would wind up taking care of them, scripting them, and maintaining them. we had a good racket going.

one day he wound up going to jail for something incredibly stupid and unrelated, for almost a year. he gave me all his passwords and i just took care of the sites while he was gone. if i needed to interact with someone he knew, i just logged into his IM or email and pretended to be him. nobody even knew. then he came back and it was like nothing ever happened.

it's hard, but do you think you would be able to find someone like that? if not a friend, then maybe someone you could employ?

Escape the country.

Going into a foreign embassy is not gonna do you any good. "The Free World" spies on, and jails its own people, and it will not risk another Mohammad cartoongate helping you. So don't even think about requesting asylum at an embassy.

Sell all you own and head to the nearest border/coastal town. Pay off smugglers or fishermen and get the fuck out.

You think life is a video game, don't you? There are some other geniuses suggesting the same useless solution. Let's say he did what you said. Do you think he will be able to build a life easily in another country as a refugee? Even opening a bank account will be a huge pain in the ass. The rest of his life will be ruined basically. And it seems he don't care about going to jail, he wants to keep his business running. Escaping the country will do the opposite.

Are you seriously comparing the difficulty of opening a bank account to the difficulty of losing your freedom and liberty?

You know, people did live before banks..

The only reason you think that he doesn't care about going to jail is the fact that he's prioritizing his livelihood. You're conveniently missing the lines where he calls it a mob action. He clearly doesn't agree with the sentence.

Actually, I'm just focusing on the question. He is asking "how can I save my business" not his freedom. Let him think about his own freedom.

And when I compare a couple of years in prison to my whole life the answer is clear for me. Escaping the country brings the bonus that he will never be able to see his own country again. As an expat who is away from home for the last 4 years I can easily say that it sucks. Being away from home doesn't make you free.

I agree with your first part. Indeed, the question he posed was about his business, and to be concerned for his life, while important, is outside the scope of the question asked.

However, I don't agree with your second part. 4 years in prison isn't just 4 years in prison. It is 4 years in a situation that is widely out of your control, and opens you up to a host of threats that you didn't consider during your 'outside' life. Sure, you can be hit by a car and killed during normal pedestrian action, but it's quite hard to be the victim of prison violence when you're a normal citizen.

Imprisonment is terrible, don't sell it short. It is a completely different world than every day life, including that of an expat, and it very well may stay with him for the rest of life in the form of a crippling physical or mental injury or even death.

He runs a SaaS, not a hot-dog stand. The power of the internet is internationalism and non-locale.

I'm not telling prison is good! In the current situation there is nothing much to do for him. My point is being a refugee is almost same with being in an open air prison. I know because I live in that prison! And selling hotdogs can be less stressful for a refugee when you compare it to online business without a legal citizenship, passport, credit card etc. Power of the bureaucracy will crush power of the internet easily. Ask that to people living in some countries with limited internet.

It only keeps you bound if your "Country" is your identity.

But regarding the OP's question, he was not asking about how to keep his freedom, he was asking about how to save his business, which I believe as you do many here have failed to see.

Now, one has to ask themselves...how likely would it be for the OP to actually save his business by running away? The likelihood of him not having everything confiscated by the government and simply shut down upon his disappearance is rather low. As it sits right now he could loose it if he doesn't "give" it to another person to care for it.

Also, he most likely feels an obligation to his clients to maintain the service.

Taking the time to train a trusted friend or family member would most likely be his only real option in this case.

Good luck to OP!


>As an expat who is away from home for the last 4 years I can easily say that it sucks. ... >Being away from home doesn't make you free.

it seems like it depends on their your "home" is. I've been living in US for more than decade. Never looked back :)

that means you prefer to be an american not russian. however there are things independent from the "home" concept that puts you in trouble. and i'm not even talking about the food : )

Life isn't a game of "Prison Architect." I suspect prison sucks more than anything you could imagine in a video game. The poster's comment is useful to the OP, especially considering OP could be facing 10, 20, 30, or more years for his "infraction." We just don't know, so we can't assume that OP would prefer to remain in his country of origin.

I suspect that prison might suck even more in a country full of muslims, considering his 'crime' has religious grounds.

He's probably going to get worse treatment than average from the other inmates.

Are you serious? He runs an online business, if that is his source of income it can be managed anywhere.

If I had to choose between prison and becoming a refugee the answer should be obvious. All over the world, people flee similar situations everyday.

Agreed. You need to leave. Now.

Sell your stuff, get currency, use your international connections. It's going to be the hardest thing you've ever done, but liberty is the most important. Who knows what will happen in prison and for how long they will detain you.

Also, depending on how technically competent your government is, you need to get all your services offshore now: Wuala for storage (like dropbox - based in Switzerland); Runbox for email (based in Norway); servers in somewhere like Europe or other nearby friendly countries that provide sufficient bandwidth... Burner phone, TOR, careful about your online presence, etc. In the meantime, move locally and rent a place cash under the table where address won't be registered. Basically, become invisible to your government.

Then you want to move your business domicile and bank accounts elsewhere if feasible so your local government can't confiscate your business once you do leave. Read into the 5-flag theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_traveler

You're entrepreneurial, intellectually curious, freedom-loving - rotting away in prison would be a waste of great talent and not to mention a human rights violation. Starting a startup is hard enough as it is, it's important. But not as important as liberty. If you plan correctly, you can have both. Obviously, I (or likely none of us on here) cant fully empathize with your situation - best of luck!!

Edit: Are you in Singapore? I know Singapore is socially strict, but I thought it was secular. If you're in Malaysia, it's a different story. Moving your domicile and bank accounts to Singapore might make a lot of sense if you're in Malaysia.

Are you in Singapore? This doesn't make sense - you say you live in a Muslim country? I know Singapore is socially strict, but I thought it was secular.

Singapore is big on social harmony. There are laws against offending other cultures and anything considered pornography is illegal. But I think he's in trouble in Malaysia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has weighed in: "The insolent and impudent act by the young couple who insulted Islam showed that freedom of expression and irresponsible opinion can jeopardise the community"

Yet the Malaysian constitution includes "every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression".

The United States is also moving more and more to an offense-based model of disallowed speech despite having strong constitutional protections for free speech[1]. Free speech has never been terribly popular anywhere.

[1] http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/06/13/essay-critici...

It doesn't really matter whether constitution provides for basic human rights or not. In either case, human race is faced with the question of what to do when basic human rights of people are violated. In general i despise neocons, yet i completely understand their logic of interventionism (note: i don't mean in narrow military sense of Bush doctrine that it was dumbed down to)

Bush doctrine?

You can go to Sabah and pay some fisherman to take you to Palawan, Philippines. Once there, ride a bus or van to go to Puerto Princesa City. From there, you can go to Cebu or Manila and start your life all over again. You can stay in Palawan if you want to, but it's more of a vacation place and it doesn't really have the infrastructure to start an IT business. The Philippines is a 3rd world country, but Filipinos, in general, are quite tolerant of people with different religious and/or sexual orientation.

Big plus one on this - especially the Philippines. Jumping on a fishing boat in a place like Malaysia is probably not super difficult. But would take some capital.

Ok, that's sort-of what I was thinking.


Great advice! Jump bail, sneak out of the country. Before you go, just move all of your stuff offshore!

What could go wrong?

This advice doesn't consider OP's situation at all. It isn't the right solution for everyone to drop all friends, family, connections and familiar culture at the drop of a hat. This is the kind of advice that's really easy to give if you happen to be a perpertual traveler yourself, or if you're sitting comfortably in a democratic country with a stable job.

Hopefully OP will have enough information himself to make an educated decision as to whether skipping the country is the right decision.

How well do you maintain friends, family, connections and familiar culture from the inside of a jail cell? That's the kind of advice that's really easy to give if you happen to be sitting comfortably in a democratic country with the freedom to leave your domicile as you please.

I have plenty of family who did this to escape an Islamic regime.

You need to cross the border into a friendlier country and claim asylum. Pay a smuggler, go by horse (seriously), do what you need to do to get across (bribes). Go and start a better life for yourself, I know so many who did and never looked back. You can visit your family in a 3rd country.

Singapore will also jail you if you did what he did, but in Singapore people know the consequences and generally don't fight the Government Rules. He is in Malaysia and the only way for him is to get out of the country which may be easier if you have the right connections.

It is a very sad state of affairs if pranks by intelligent kids are used against them not because of the actual prank but as a scapegoat so that others don't do this and it is also sad that intelligent people don't understand the consequences of their action and pranks are not worth 8 years in prison.

Slight problem, elsewhere in the thread he says his passport is confiscated.

There are other ways. There are millions of people in the USA and Europe without passports.

If they are not nationals, they are illegals.

If it's not a very long sentence, OP is better off trying that after he's done with it. Maybe ask for asylum, but afterwards.

He is being charged for Sedition which is 8 years in prison. The best thing for him is to escape and i believe even many malaysian muslims will help him to escape as long as he repents for his mistake. People are never cruel only institutions are cruel, because if they are not, they lose control and the consequences are far more than a simple prank.

I really don't think that the OP made any mistakes. And you're wrong about people not being cruel. They can be very cruel. Very recently in my country, four bloggers were jailed because they wrote sarcastic blogs about Islam and one was killed for running a website that mocked religion. And the vast majority of the people were happy. And I'm not talking about the old generation, I'm talking about generation Y and Z.

I myself, received threats because my FaceBook said I was an 'atheist' and I was engaged with social media movement against religious oppression.

I know a guy who came to USA on his friend's passport, and once he was on American soil, claimed asylum. It's entirely possible this same person could do it.

While we in the "free world" have unprecedented concerns these days, I don't think spying is relevant to the issues the gentleman here is facing, and the assumptions that he will not be helped seem cynical, at best.

That being said, the ability of a foreign embassy to get you out may be limited. As we've seen in other cases lately, asylum can be granted, but only once you arrive. Laws are tricky things, and no country is going to use its diplomatic office as a backdoor for fugitives to flee the country as its an abuse of the privileges given. Once you're on another countries' soil however, "de facto" takes precedence.

What a foreign embassy can do however, is give you real, factual advice. For that reason alone, I'd suggest visiting one. They can advice you on what your legal options are and what opportunities are available to you.

It is important that you receive information that is accurate and actionable. We here at HN can offer suggestions, but you need the advice of professionals and experts. Speak to an embassy official and get the facts.

And then?

THEN apply for asylum privately, out of the media.

It will be very hard living as an undocumented person, but I have seen it done. I'm Somali.

Well what do you know. All these years I had you pegged as Egyptian. Not sure why.

Do you ever visit Hargeisa?

My family is from Hargeisa, but I haven never set foot in it.

Now that it came to light that you are in Malaysia, I would modify my initial suggestion.

1) I don't recommend escape as before. I was fearing you might be in an Arab country. Malaysia has what vaguely resembles a law, at least.

2) On the other hand, you are ethnic Chinese. I'd tell the lawyer to bring up the issue of your safety in prison.

Man, my heart is seriously aching for you, specially after reading your story. Be safe.

Out of curiosity, why specifically did you change your advice of escaping Malaysia?

It says in #1 that I was afraid he might be in the Mideast. Arabs would hang him with impunity to make an example of him. Malaysia can't: it would be perceived as racially motivated, as he is ethnic Chinese, and Malaysia is already under scrutiny for its race relations.

It's also worth adding that being from a relatively stable, democratic and secular country like Malaysia would make it much harder for him to claim asylum in other countries on the grounds of "religious persecution".

Malaysia also has numerous treaties and strong ties with the United States (including security cooperation). Given the Snowden situation, it is quite possible that US would simply refuse to grant asylum (by claiming the charges aren't political) for two purposes: 1) show "sensitivity" to the Islamist world (after implicitly supporting Morsi's outster) 2) to encourage other countries to turn over future whistle blowers despite plausibility of charges against them being political.

It isn't likely that he'll garner political support either: the religious right is itself opposed to pornography and like hopes such laws would exist in the US -- social conservatives are fighting hard to defend the idea that laws that prohibit actions that cause no harm are still legitimate, some segments on the left may be prone to political correctness or partisanship (as "their" guy is in power now).

Sometimes I think the cause of liberalism (broadly defined -- I don't mean celebrating Clinton over champaign, I mean a belief in individual liberty) has (by now) been hopelessly lost. It looks like the fight is between two varieties of anti-liberal communitarian thought: one merely favours a more diverse and equal society, the other is more traditional; they seem, however, to agree social conventions can trump individual rights (they just disagree what those conventions should be) and that achieving near absolutely security (even against already improbable events) is a more important goal (even if still unreachable) than maintaining most basic civil liberties.

Malaysia actually returned Hamza Kashgari to face trial in Saudi Arabia for "speech crimes" against Islam.


Also depending on the country you're in, keep in mind that you might be marked as suspicious for visiting a foreign embassy. Perhaps send a friend or someone to do the advice getting and only go when you have solid advice from a professional diplomat or embassy staffer that recommends that you do so.

Good advice.

Live off the land as a travelling fugitive.

Whose land? He probably couldn't find legal work anywhere in the world.

OTOH, North Korea may be the only place that an illegal immigrant can't find work.

You are giving this advice not even knowing which country the poster is in!

How hard is it to keep it alive? Can I do it for you while you get your stuff sorted out? Do you have a decent lawyer? Would that make a difference? Let me know (email in profile), I'll gladly help you if I can. I second the calls to leave your country but I can see that this may not always be an option.

I have a decent lawyer. It isn't hard to keep alive; heck, I've been running it pretty half-assed for the past almost 2 years. Still, I cannot abandon it totally.

Also, I don't think it makes enough revenue to warrant hiring anyone to take care of it, I think. I'd make a loss. And since familiarising with the current code base etc. may require a lot of effort, way more effort than anyone would care to dedicate, unless they're paid a lot to get familiar with it.

My startup is http://www.zuupy.com.

I really want to keep the startup, because it's my main source of income that pays my rent, food, entertainment, transportation, etc. It's also my first startup -- it has great sentimental value.

What's the platform?

What is your (honest) estimate of the code quality / time to familiarize?

What about those bugs, are they things that you could conceivably still do before you go to jail? Would it be acceptable if they were there as long as you were gone? (after all, they are there right now).

You're in Singapore?

How do you intend to deal with the financial side of this? (I take it there is a small business to be run as well to keep the lights on).

I can see a few options:

  - blindly trust some random stranger (probably a bad idea!)

  - give the company in trust to your lawyer while you are
    away to run on your behalf

  - get a friend up to speed in the time remaining and turn
    the site over to them before you go.
Keeping the lights on is basically what you're asking for but the bit that I'm missing still in your plan is that you are right now probably promoting your site as well, which is one of the reasons it is working. Mothballing it with the marketing stopped will only work if the period without active work on the site is not too long, it may take more effort to keep it at the level where it is right now if the time is longer.

You'd have to expect that no matter what by the time you get out of jail (how long do you expect to go away for?) the business will have shrunk or will have died.

Good to see you at least have a decent lawyer, that may be an important part of the solution.

Singapore is 100% not a Muslim country. He's probably in Malaysia from the looks of it.

Yeah I wondered if that was connected. God damn, what the Malaysian Chinese have to put up with. Every single organization in the nation, public and private, is completely run by Chinese managers, with a few bumiputra cronies as figureheads and a workforce packed with other laid-back Malays. Nothing in that country (and it's a lovely country, one of my favorite to visit) would ever get done without the Chinese. Yet many Malaysians' burning envy of Singapore seems to find its only outlet in abusing their own Chinese, either directly, through the rhetoric of politicians like Mahathir, or through the entrenched quota system. It's been over a decade since I was in the region, but I'll always have sympathy for the Chinese in Malaysia.

Not that Singapore is any shining beacon of freedom. I can certainly imagine the "Happy Ramadan" stunt drawing a stiff fine there. I doubt, though, that any minority in Singapore would need to speak "truth" to power in this way.

oh wow. that is a bum rap.

For what it's worth, that's a nice startup!

Best wishes for your outcome.

If it's your main source of income, it must be making some money. Can you use that to pay someone to take care of it while you're away?

There's got to be some kind of middle ground between 'taking a loss' and 'main source of income'. Even if it's not as much as someone would make in a different job, I bet some people would be willing to help you out for a small stipend.

Good luck!!

Could the loss you take from hiring someone to take care of it be a loss your business could handle for the duration of your incarceration? If the choice is loss and still kicking, or complete company failure, the loss might be preferable.

If you want to keep it up, taking a loss may be what's required.

jacquesm is a real stand-up guy by the way. It doesn't count for much, but I'd recommend considering his offer.

I'll also offer to assist (preferably with one or two other people sharing the workload), but details would help a lot. An attorney should be able to ensure that your rights to the business are protected in the meantime.

My email's in my profile.

the religion you have offended has great sentimental values to the people who follow that religion. yet you ask people to save your startup because it has great sentimental values to you. what a pity.

Their startup isn't putting someone in prison for posting an "offensive photo".

no it isn't. thanks i missed that point.

EDIT: for those who up voted, i was being sarcastic.

This is actually OP's case. About page from his startup: http://zuupy.com/about/

As a former Muslim atheist, Jesus Christ!

Assuming there's nothing you can do to escape your pending jail term, I would suggest getting your legal person to draw up some sort of agreement where someone can run the business and keep the profits in your stead. This will have to be someone you trust as no matter how good the contract, the potential downside for you is huge. You could structure it as selling the company with an option to buy it back at the sale price when you get out of jail.

This sucks so hard. As an openly atheist ex-muslim, I'm permanently striking Indonesia, Malaysia and more or less any other predominantly muslim country off my lifetime travel itenerary. If they'll throw you in jail for some snarky photos, my head rolling into a bucket isn't a great stretch if the imagination.

Another ex-Muslim here. Not all of Indonesia is off limits. I just came back from Bali and it's awesome.

Muslims as a minority are tolerable. But no way will I trust them as a majority, much less a ruling population. Creepy, overreaching and domineering people with no respect for individual rights.

That's good to know about Bali, but from what I understand Java is very close to living under Sharia. Having lived in Saudi for a while, I can report that its about as terrifying as you've described there.

PS I think the last time I ran into you on HN a beer was offered, then we had a fight about a movie on twitter (I forget what). If your adventures ever bring you to London, that beer offer is still open.

LOL! I don't remember any of this: beer or the movie :-P

Bali is the shit. I love that place. Haven't seen any other part of Indonesia though.

Way to stereotype.

There should be lots of counter-examples of countries that have a Muslim majority and respect freedom of speech. Just point out one of those many countries to refute him.

Muslim-majority countries ranked as "free" by Freedom In The World include Senegal, Sierra Leone, Northern Cyprus, and Indonesia. This represents a startlingly tiny minority of Islamic nations. The majority of Muslim states are considered highly repressive. The treatment OP is facing is by any reasonable consideration an atrocious crime against humanity and the government and people of Malaysia deserve to be castigated for allowing this practice to occur.

But what is truly interesting from a historical perspective is that this phenomenon if Muslim extremism is a very new reality for the people living in Islamic countries. It is a cautionary tale for those who believe that once repressive and discriminatory regimes are eradicated they will not recur; on the contrary, it is likely that humanity will struggle with bigotry and oppression for as long as it exists in its present form, transhumanism notwithstanding. Those who have read The Kite Runner will of course recognize that even Afghanistan once had a liberal social structure that made some attempts to respect individual freedom and the rights of women.

During the Islamic Golden Age, the Arab nations were among the most advanced in the world from both a social and scientific perspective. The appearance of many similar liberal Islamic governments throughout human history gives strong support to those who wish to see Islam once again exist in harmony with the rights of individuals, despite the numerous social problems plaguing the modern Islamic worlds.

The Islamic nations of today struggle yet with the aftershocks of communism and colonialism. I believe, and sociologists may support me, that much of the recent turn towards extremism has been part of an attempt to reconstruct a national and social identity that had for so long been under the yoke of The Great Game and similar enormities carried out by Eurasian empires. It is instructive to consider the rise of Islamists in Iran as a result of American intervention in the installation of the Shah. Those who would support interventionism are strongly cautioned in light of this and many similar examples.

The rise of liberalism not only in Iran but also in those places where Western interference in nation-building has been smallest, such as Senegal and Bangladesh, is very encouraging. It also lends credence to the notion that interventions almost always make things worse. I am hopeful that if the West can be so kind as to mind their own fucking business, the Islamic world may gradually see a return to sanity. I would, however, strongly support the continued provenance of asylum and refugee status to those whom, like the OP, suffer unjustly from regressive policies in Islamic states.

> Muslim-majority countries ranked as "free" by Freedom In The World include Senegal, Sierra Leone, Northern Cyprus, and Indonesia.

It's worth noting that "free" is relative in this context. In Indonesia, for instance, it's not unheard of for individuals to be jailed for "blasphemy" [1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Indonesi...

a hasty generalization does not need refutation. it is false in its essence.

You could also read it as a statement of fact, and I don't see anyone volunteering evidence to refute it.

I am stereotyping abusive nature of Muslim states in a thread about someone going to jail for speaking in a Muslim state?

so you're an ex creepy, overreaching and domineering person with no respect for individual rights? why should we trust you now?

Didn't I make it abundantly clear that it's only in a majority aggregate that Muslims tend to fall under those adjectives?

Minority pockets and individuals are fine. It's majority Muslim states that I have a problem with. And of course, the clerical, thought-police crowd.

im sure minority pockets and individual muslims are humbled by your assessment. I assume you are an adventurer who has travelled many countries, right?

Depending on how long you are likely to go away, it's probably best do just do the time.

Escaping, as others suggested, would mean leaving your life behind, likely living as an illegal elsewhere (without the ability to open a bank account or own a business). If it's probably just a couple of years, it's probably best to sit it out, and resume your life after.

You need to hook up with someone you really trust, and give them 50% revenue of the startup (after a while, they will see it as theirs, and wonder why they are paying you if it's less). Family would be good, but otherwise an old friend. If they are technically literate, maybe they can outsource the actual work so long as they remain in control.

I disagree. I say run, leave that country. I once did the same. Why would he like to live in a country governed by religion to the point that a secular photo gets you to jail?

Run, start your life somewhere else. That is my advise.

A lot of countries have dogmatic laws many people in them disagree with. For instance, in the US, you can go to jail for selling cannabis, and a lot of people disagree with that.

If an American friend told you he was about to go to jail for a year for selling drugs, and you felt it was unfair, would you tell him to flee?

As such, you can comply with unfair laws, or not and take the consequences, or go somewhere with different laws. Separately, you might campaign to change them, but while those laws are in place the above choices are all you have. Which you do is really a cost benefit thing.

If an American friend told you he was about to go to jail for a year for selling drugs

OP and his girlfriend face 8 years in jail for posting a picture of themselves eating pork on Facebook.


8 years is a long time - a lot more than ~2 which is what I'd assumed. Given the circumstances Op may find running away the best option.

Not that it changes the ridiculousness of the matter at all, but I think their sex blog also factors in to the persecution.

>If an American friend told you he was about to go to jail for a year for selling drugs, and you felt it was unfair, would you tell him to flee?

For a year? I'd tell him to stay. For 4-5 years, or 10-15? Run if you can come up with any way to. This particular case also revolves around religious freedom, so it may be possible to get refugee status somewhere, esp. being high-skilled and entrepreneurial.

Depends.. I'd run if I had to spend 8 years in prison for example

Leave the country if possible.

I obviously can't know what kind of anti religious posts you have made and what your history on that matter is, but if it isn't hate speech that encourages others to discriminate or do anything else illegal there definitely would be some countries that would give you asylum.

The other option if you want to accept going into prison for whatever reason (maybe it is just a few months, or you cannot leave for other reasons like family) is to give someone else you trust some equity and hand operation over to that person for the time you are in prison.

Good luck

Australia or perhaps Canada

Don't go to Australia. We're mostly locking up asylum-seekers on small off-shore island detention centers. This is not a good thing.

Hmm spend time in a civilized nation's prison or 3rd world prison... doesn't seem hard to decide.

(Insert joke about not sure if the .au prison is the civilized one or the 3rd world one ... oh oh look what I just said, now I'm about to be sharing a cell with OP)

This goes double for the Norway comparison... whats the worst thing they can do to you in a Norway prison, serve lutefisk for dinner?

On a 3rd world prison, you might be able to bribe the warden to provide you with better room, cellphone, cable tv, internet, air conditioning unit, small kitchen, etc.


If bribes are available then spend it on the judge...

A kickstarter to pay off his judge is something I've not seen yet and is an interesting hack on the system.

Or if forbidden by kickstarter, a startup competitor to kickstarter could have bribery as its secret weapon.

Imagine getting every NRA or NOW or Sierra Club or EFF member to donate to pay bribes in the 3rd world to help some cause.

I'm not sure that is a given. Maybe Australian prisons are nice. You could make the same joke about the USA and it would unfortunately be closer to the truth. I'd rather get sent to jail in Mexico than one in Arizona.

Only those that come by boat. Many many more asylum seekers come by plane which is not such a problem. Detaining boat people is meant to deter others risking their lives the same way.

In Norway it's the same, although it lasts for several months or years.

Seeking asylum in Canada would be a gamble right now, unfortunately... Our foreign service is in the middle of a labour dispute.


Religious Muslim intolerance might not be the best asylum reason there. There are strange double standards, e.g. right now a comedian is getting shanghaied for a mild joke about Islam -- for generations many times worse jokes have been done about all other religions. Sweden is, in short, a weird duck pond which seems to have a giant Ol' Boy's network between media, politics and everything else.

But -- even illegal immigrants without papers (like failed asylum applicants) will get free school for children and free health/dental care. Some parts of the country have lots of this.

(Yes, this seems to imply that anyone which can fake not being a Westerner can get free health care in Sweden, if they don't show their passport... Time to brush up on a Russian accent for Americans that need expensive operations? :-) )

Edit: Clarity, some more facts.

To everyone ITT who is questioning whether OP has considered leaving his country. This is a public forum. Obviously, OP cannot/should not openly solicit or respond to advice for breaking the law or otherwise give any impression that he intends to flee, or otherwise escape his country's excuse for "Justice".

Of course we are all free to give him this advice, and perhaps we should do so, but remember that OP cannot respond positively.

I would argue that just posting such advice here on a public forum could potentially damage OP's case. If the Malaysian authorities are willing to charge him with "sedition" for a photo, isn't it possible that they'll charge him with "conspiracy to flee authorities" or something like that because some people on the internet suggested he flee the country?

In that case he should definitely flee. OP obviously has no ability to control what is posted here by any other person.

Get out. Forget your business; you can make a new one somewhere else.

Any life elsewhere is better than a life in a country filled with morons who believe an obvious lie like Islam and order their lives by it.

When you get out, dedicate your life to doing great things by your own rules and eradicating the stupidity of people who believe the crap they are told without evidence.

And for all the overly-sensitive Muslim fanatics out there: your Allah is a figment of your imagination and your Mohammed fucked dogs in his spare time for fun and profit. Jesus, also, was imaginary, you stupid bastards. I dare you to prove me wrong.

Come and get me. I will defend my right to say these things until I am dead. It's called freedom of speech.

Good for you! Now go say the same thing publicly in Malaysia, & let us know how it works out for you.

Best thing to do would be to collect some data on your saas for the last few months, prepare it for selling, and find someone that will buy it from you and keep at it.

I have no idea how prison is where you live, but I doubt you will be able to run any kind of SaaS business from there so either fold it or sell it.

Hire someone outside your country for a percentage of the profit. Don't worry too much about the paperwork. Just hire a well known guy(meaning open source projects, vocal on technical issues etc.) in the hacker community to find someone trustworthy. I am sure many of us would be happy to help. Though I may not be qualified I am up for it.

It really depends on how long you might be away. My goal if I were you would be to resolve this ASAP to focus on my court case and enjoying freedom for the next months.

What I'd probably do is find someone I trust to have power of attorney to manage the site at a high level for my benefit; give him a percentage of profit, or someone who owes you a favor. Then that person will handle finding someone to operate the site -- that way the first person can continue to provide oversight and replace the second if needed. If it is for a short time, you might be able to get away with just one person, but two is much more durable.

I'd plan on giving up a fair bit of the revenue while away -- up to you if you want the operators to try for growth or just maintenance. Someone just passively maintaining it will cost less but the site might eventually die.

You have a CTO co-founder (http://zuupy.com/about/), is he going to jail as well?

No, but he's no longer with the startup.

Well, he may be your solution. He likely understands your business better than anyone else outside. Did he exit on bad terms?

As a Russian Jew who immigrated for the United States, hearing your story upset me a lot: there are many parallels between how Russia/USSR (both under tzar and communists, fortunately less so after fall of USSR) has treated Jews and how Malaysia and Indonesia treat their Chinese minority.

It is sad that I am powerless to do to help you and that our immigration laws will probably hold what your government has done to you _against you_, e.g., if you were in the process of getting a college degree but were kicked out by your government, you will not be eligible for an H1B visa. Fellow Americans: this is why immigration policy is not about economics or politics, but a moral issue. Perhaps it's true that immigration leads to lower salaries or to more democrats instead of republicans being elected (but I have my doubts), but isn't it a _far greater_ injustice to prohibit people like OP[1]) from wanting to have basic liberties we take for granted?

[1] ... or myself from 17 years ago: we had to jump through many hoops for my dad to get an H1B visa, for my mum and I to get an H4 visa, and later for all of us to get green cards. We were racked by uncertainty and anxiety over many years: I thought a lot about how we might not get a green card and how upon return I'll likely be inducted into the military where I'll be periodically bullied or even tortured ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedovshchina ) for edification of others.

Can I ask what your name is? I'm a free speech activist in the area and would love to see if I can help.

On topic: Post more information about the SaaS. Someone where could want to buy it.

First, you should read the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and determine whether you will be a candidate if you flee. No sense leaving if you will simply be deported back to your country. I think it applies:

"A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion."

You appear to be facing a clear and imminent risk of persecution at the hands of your government because of your political views, which in all likelihood makes you a candidate for seeking asylum in another country and claiming refugee status through the UNHCR.

Not knowing where you are, I can't advise any further. If you are unable to exit the country with your passport, bring whatever identifying documentation you have about yourself (drivers license, birth certificate, diplomas or degrees, etc.). All of that will aid in your case.

If you are able to prepare well beforehand (do so, if you have time), get the phone numbers and addresses of these organizations in the country you seek asylum in: the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, the International Catholic Migration Commission... that's all I can think of right now.

Prepare to present yourself to local law enforcement in your new country at some point, but try to avoid doing so without consulting local refugee support staff. In all likelihood, you will need to be arrested and processed by local law enforcement as part of your declaration for asylum. I have dealt with this in Turkey for Iraqi, Iranian, and scores of East African refugees, so I only know the peculiarities of Turkish law and refugees. If you can get to a European country, you will fare much better.

Open source your code. It might not be as much of a competitive advantage as you think and open sourcing it will help with the bug fixes and features

Concentrate on the value that you and your brand provides - if your main customers are in your home country then you can already provide value from localisation. Can you hire someone to handle the marketing and support?

Get out of the country ASAP. Come to San Francisco. You won't go to jail here for posting pictures. Apply for asylum or whatever later, but get your butt on a plane ASAP.

And you think the US will grant him a visa to work being a fugitive of a muslim country?

His crime is "posting a religiously-insensitive photograph". Sounds like a poster boy for the refugee visa.

isn't it called asylum.

If you're outside of the US you can apply to be a refugee and be granted a visa. Only once you're in the US can you request asylum.

Not easy, but I know at LEAST 10 people who are in the U.S. based on asylum. The process takes a long time though.

Hah! Never.

The U.S. is the last place you want to seek refugee from an unjust government.

Can't tell if srs. My grandpa got about 5K refugees into the country over his lifetime. Minnesotans are into that sort of thing. Try contacting http://www.iimn.org if you're really into this idea. They could at least say if asylum/refugee status is likely.

The downside is asylum/refugee can be somewhat political. Not sure what the USA's relationship is with Malaysia, and it may offend Singapore. It's better to be from a country nobody ever thinks about, or assumes is horrible like Somalia or Eritrea.

Don't be naive.

To butcher Churchill - The US does have the most evil and corrupt government; apart from all the others

>You won't go to jail here for posting pictures.

Sorry to be pedantic but there are a lot of pictures you can post in the US that will get you sent to jail.

Cartoons I think we are referring to.

"Religiously-insensitive photographs" the OP said.

If The Onion didn't get in trouble for this one, then the US is safe. Cartoon, not safe for work.


I'm mildly amused that a comic depicting various religious figures in a (however weird) sexual act could be considered not safe for work - which seems just a different way to say "Comics like these might offend your coworkers / employer", which .. feels like the reduced, small-scale version of the "crime" the OP is prosecuted for.

It's a harmless picture, a comic, from a satirical magazine. It shouldn't be considered unsafe for work.

Agree wholeheartedly, and obviously so does The Onion. However, given that cultures vary, etc, I thought it best to warn.

^ NSFW ^

(sorry, used to seeing NSFW, not "not safe for work" so clicked on it before I realized)

Do you have recent examples of this that don't involve exploitation of children?

My passport was impounded, unfortunately.

Sneak the f out on back country roads or by boat. Prison may very well kill you.

You don't need a passport to leave a country. You need a passport to get into a country.

People who enter a country illegally and then claim asylum status are unlikely to be in any position to keep their business running.

How hard is it to get a fake-passport and sneak through the airport?


Even if it were easy as a pie, OP is worried about being convicted of a 'crime' which is not considered a crime in most of the developed world. So, he has a chance of being granted asylum.

Faking a passport, however, IS a very serious crime and it would be something ridiculously stupid to do.

Assuming you have the original, non-biometric passport, access to materials and suitable printers, plotters etc and a handful of other passports of the appropriate nationality people don't mind being "recycled", quite a while.

Very. And the consequences from getting caught are bad.

Very hard.

You could go to the USA, Canada, or EU country embassy and see if they can help you with asylum etc.

I would recommend Canada.

Attention Captain Obvious: If he could leave the country, he probably would.

He is probably not allowed to leave the country while his trial is going on.

That's not the issue; of course he's not allowed. The problem is whether the US would give him asylum.

Just as likely to end up in gizmo.

Why not Texas? Or Iowa? They're all part of the US that is bound by the immigration laws of your country right? What the hell does SF have to do with it?

If only all of the world's persecuted people could move to SF!

Eat your sarcasm.

Because he's posting on HN for advice. Because SF and the Bay Area has a higher proportion of immigrants and human rights organizations than many other areas of the country. Because it's more likely easier to get here if he's in a country like Indonesia. Because I live in SF AND I HAVE A FUCKING COUCH HE CAN SLEEP ON if necessary.

You insensitive pricks make me sick.

>> Is there anything I can do to save my SaaS startup?

Don't you think you have bigger things to worry about then your SaaS company ? I meant, you are about to lose your freedom which I feels should be your first priority.

I really feels to have a stronger case and to preserve your freedom, you should come out open with your name. International pressure and media do work as in Deborah Dalelv's case http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/marte-deborah-dalel...

SaaS companies normally don't have lot of overhead, so you can hand over the control to some local friend, do inform your customers about your current situation and the possible repercussions of it.

financial security is freedom in a very real sense - see the work by amartya sen et al.

Deborah Dalelv is a Norwegian citizen, though.

My thought is to put together a very detailed set of instructions including a screencast. Then contact one of the many companies that offers virtual personal assistants. Tell them you need someone for a couple hours a week with whatever level of technical knowledge they'd need to be able to follow your instructions.

Then start using them right away (before being interred) so that you can see if you've gotten a person who understands the task and can do it well, or if you need to have them find someone else to do it.

It should be cheap and easy.

Alternately, you could just sell the business and start a new one when you get out. I'm sure there are many folks here, myself included who would be willing to consider buying a self-sufficient SaaS business.

Jeez, I wouldn't listen to anyone who is certain you should become a fugitive from justice based solely on the three sentence description of what's going on. (C'mon guys, really?) If you want legal advice, talk to a lawyer.

To answer the actual question you asked: well, it depends. I don't think you've provided enough information for me to help. What industry? What sort of bugs and features? What platform? How many customers? Feel free to send me an email with specifics and I'll promise not to share if that's what you wish.

I disagree with my country's laws, and sometimes do flaunt them. If I were to be caught and had to serve a prison sentence, who am I to blame? I knew the risk, and I took it. I might disagree and think it unfair, but those are the rules of the game.

I don't mean to be insensitive but if you willingly break your country's rules then you have to accept the retribution that is dealt out. This is the cost of being outspoken, or revolutionary, or straight out insurgency. Being a HN regular and entrepreneur I'd hope that would be self evident.

Maybe the West has sold you on the idea that you can go against the grain and not pay for it, that's certainly what the western so-called revolutionaries seem to demonstrate. How long do you think Chomsky would last in Russia?

Some people in this thread suggest you move to San Francisco. It would have been ideal if you were born there instead. In SF you can go against the grain and pay nothing for it (and then advise the rest of the world to 'rebel'). What great heroes they are.

Where you are from it looks like if you upset the authorities you pay a hard price. I hope you feel strongly about your actions.

Today a US intelligence analyst was convicted of espionage by a US military court. He was pushing boundaries he knew to be illegal in his arena and now he's paying the price. His actions will be remembered for better or worse for decades to come, and he paid the price.

He didn't grow up in San Francisco, like you. I wish you the best and hope for a positive outcome.

If you break unjust laws there is no reason to accept whatever punishment the law mandates. In fact, I'd argue that the right thing to do is to not forfeit your freedom. Note that OP wasn't posting to escape punishment. He was asking for advice on keeping the site alive.

Also, and perhaps more importantly, someone is about to be imprisoned for a lengthy period for exercising free speech.

You may have to acknowledge there are going to be consequences, but you absolutely do not have to "accept the retribution that is dealt", especially if it is unjust. You have the moral options of fighting every step of the way, or even fleeing. No one should be so disgustingly submissive that they help justify the actions of their own government against them.

I don't mean to be insensitive but if you willingly break your country's rules then you have to accept the retribution that is dealt out.

Close, but I don't like the connotation of just lying down and taking it. When you break unjust laws, avoid all the retribution you can.

You don't happen to be Alvin Tan who recently caused a ruckus in Malaysia do you?

Yes. That is exactly who this is.

write a blog entry about your story, make it known to the public many ppl might volunteer to e-protest for you

My story is actually well-documented in the local media, and, although there are segments of supporters, these count for nothing in a Muslim country. Thanks for the idea though.

What about organisations like http://avaaz.org ?

Your story can travel far beyond the local media

you are going through a rough time right now since there is an awful possibility for you to lose your freedom and i really deeply feel sorry for you but stop generalising muslims / muslim countries. if your justice system is broken that's not because they are muslim but they try to bend the rules of qur'an.

I might be able to put you in contact with someone who knows a great deal about asylum requests in Italy. Let me know if you're interested.

"posted religiously-insensitive photograph" is a very vague statement. Many questions come to mind.

- What is the nature of photographs?

- Were you exposing some kind the truth and got caught up by legal loopholes or an inherently unjust law in your country?

- Did you knowingly break a law which has existed in your country for a long time?

- Does the nature of your photographs insults someone's faith and or religion directly, knowingly, or purposefully? Or was it so subtle that you could have done it unknowingly?

- Could your postings promote hatred and/or violence against a specific group of people in the society?

- Is you SaaS startup related to the exposure of photographs? Were your postings directly as a results of your startup?

Many more questions can be raised and I think not many can help you without a clear understanding of the issue. At the very least anyone who might want to jump in to help would at least want to clearly understand the connection between your legal issues and your startup.

That said, without clear understanding of what you actually did, I have no right to assume who among the parties involved is right and who is wrong.

If you are willing and if it's possible without putting you in more trouble than you already have on your hands, please share a few more details about the issue. You would be surprised how much help communities like HN can provide you, given proper details.

PS. If legal precedence from authentic Islamic history is accepted in the courts in your country(which should be). Feel free to get in touch with me privately and I will do my best to help you find authentic Islamic precedence that might help you in your case - but of course, only if you are comfortable with it.

Hmm. If he is being prosecuted for teasing fasting Muslims with food, it is just idiotic and with absolutely no legal precedence from authentic Islamic history. (Yes, I am a fasting Muslim too)

Problem with "hurting the sentiments" style cases everywhere is that usually there is absolutely no guidelines or legal framework on what constitutes "hurting the sentiments" and it boils down to the men/women judging the case.

> Hmm. If he is being prosecuted for teasing fasting Muslims with food, it is just idiotic and with absolutely no legal precedence from authentic Islamic history. (Yes, I am a fasting Muslim too)

Shouldn't teasing be part of the challenge of fasting? If fasting was easy, why even do it?

It doesn't have to be, but at the same time it is not a issue of "hurting the sentiments" at all.

As I mentioned in my other comment: From religious POV, a fasting Muslim actually gets extra reward when other people eat in front of him. There are numerous incidents from authenticated Islamic history that show when a fasting Muslim was offered food, he/she would refuse saying "I am fasting and they(Muslims and non Muslims alike, even Prophet himself) would continue eating.

Such problems generally stem from ignorance and [it pains me to say] "I am the saviour of Islam" complex of [some]Muslims as a direct result of ignorance.

I am a Hindu Indian Singaporean, and i believe he is being made a scapegoat not for his actual prank, but as a deterrent to others to not do these type of things.

The government looks really angry:

"Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Wednesday, "The insolent and impudent act by the young couple who insulted Islam showed that freedom of expression and irresponsible opinion can jeopardise the community," according to The Star."

Doesn't sound like a very tolerant place at all.

Look, I know this is not what you asked about but I have to say this: For your sake I hope that the prosecution does not stumble across this posting. Given the gravity of your situation your decision to add the gratuitous "my government and the majority mob" to your posting it makes your public apology seem disingenuous. I also hope that before you post anything else on the Internet in any forum that you run in by your lawyer first. Human rights issues aside, I have to confess that I did not have much sympathy for your plight before as your initial posting was obviously going to get you in trouble with the law, as unjust as that law might be. You need to stop and take stock of your situation and consider carefully your behaviour going forward, you need to take this more seriously.

As for your startup, if the thing is not really profitable in the first place why are you worried about it? Let it die and move on, it might very well be holding you back from trying something else that will actually be successful.

> I have to confess that I did not have much sympathy for your plight

Because posting a picture, any picture, to Facebook deserves 8 years in prison.

.. because I understand the context of living in Malaysia, religious and race relations within the country, and the prevailing laws. As I said, I do not think it is just. This guy has to live there, deal with the reality of living there, not just discuss it on HN. I don't know, maybe you do live there and disagree, but for any Malaysians I know this outcome of his actions are completely expected and obvious. Even in the Chinese community this he has very little support.

The OP clearly did not do this to be a martyr or stand up for freedom and now he's got himself in a tough spot.

For what it's worth, it might be better for him since he said, "I may be going to jail ... help me save my business" rather than "... help me escape". It was commenters here that suggested it, and there's no indication that that was his plan or desire.

You're right, of course, that it is unlikely to help him, and perhaps I am insufficiently cynical.

Here are my thoughts

1. For a period of 3-5 year, I'll proceed with the jail. I think you can have limited Internet access in jail, but this might not be the case in your country. Check with the authorities. Otherwise, proceed by selling your business quickly and put the money is a safe index fund. With a 5% return, over 5 year, this means 27% return.

2. If the period is hilariously long, like 20 years, I'll advise you to escape. There are many ways from seeking Asylum to illegally crossing the borders. Some people will discourage you to illegally cross the border, but I guess it's better than spending 20 years in some prison with no real-life contact.

3. I remember there was a discussion about changing one identity. It might sound like movies, but you may want to look into that. You can also just hide in your country, and keep looking for possible escape solutions/countries.

1) Nope. I wasn't allowed bail previously, so I was kept in prison for 1 week. I know how it works there. No internet, and phone is very expensive and limited to 10 minutes a week and for only 5 preset numbers.

2) Definitely considered that, and it doesn't even have to be 20 years for me to consider that. 2 years is long enough for me.

3) I'm sorry, do you have the link?

What's the period? If it's 2-5 years, please proceed with jail. Know that there will be deer consequences for attempting something that illegal. Your case is even harder as you got public coverage, so I guess your face is well known to the public/officers.

>If it's 2-5 years, please proceed with jail.

i'm sure it isn't a Norwegian style jail. Sexual blogger insulting Islam in the largest muslim country - my bet would be that he isn't looking into quality time in jail.

On the other side - political asylum seems like exactly the thing applicable in such case, at least US one.

Can you apply for asylum at an embassy for a non-muslim government?

(just don't let your government see you doing it)

Contact me at daniel dot boles at gmail dot com. Maybe we can work something out.

Right, a Gmail address. Like he should write anything sensitive there.

Does it really matter what email provider you use if you don't use encryption? I'm not sure i understand why using gmail is any different then sending clear-text emails across the Internet to another provider.

he wasn't suggesting that he'd help him escape the country or avoid his sentence. More likely he was suggesting he could help him with his original question - how to keep his business running. Business emails are moderately sensitive, but most people don't seem to have a problem trusting google (and so the NSA) with that type of information.

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

Can someone run the SaaS startup for him while --and if-- he is in jail?

Just incase some of you guys are curious with Malaysian laws especially when it comes to religious matter, a Muslim lady is now probably going to face jail time because of bathing dogs. http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/31/...

Yes, you read it right. It's against the law in Malaysia for Muslim to be near dogs.

#if you are in for >5-7 years, forget ur startup, handover 50% stake to best guy you can find and focus on legal troubles.

#if it is only few months, and your customers value ur service, be as honest with them as you can, create a forum for them to help each other, get some friend/family to pitch in.

#little tricky for inbetween, you'll need a dedicated guy to work on it, he'll expect a substantial share, so you can just hope for best to find a talented/honest guy.

Open Source it maybe? Set up some small foundation to keep it running. Or, sign over rights to someone you trust while you are in prison to keep it running.

What is the nature of the service? Is it something you need strong domain knowledge in to support?

I like many others would probably be able to offer to act as caretaker providing it's all legal and it's not something that will require lot's of time to get up to speed learning.

let me know if you want to discuss anything.

Hire a developer (to add features) and a support guy (for emails and bug reports). At least have these as your backup while you think of other ideas.

If you call it "my government", then you should obey him. Even if you disagree. Or you can question it in appropriate instances. That's how things work here in the west. If you think the government is treating you unjustly, you can 1) stand your ground, keep your inner freedom (lots of people have done that in Communist and Nazi Germany countries in the past); 2) Run, hide.

I think you should get in touch with avaaz.org They have an influence on such issues. They will get their members to sign up in you support, create international awareness on this issue and then generate massive awareness regarding the situation. Not only will this buy you more time, it will also boosts up your chances significantly.

Is it something that can be run from the states? I'll take it and run it while you're gone.

Sweet Jesus... I was looking at the news about your case and posting here is a violation of your bail conditions, if you stopped responding here for any other reason don't start again for that reason, you are endangering your freedom.

To reply to your question: Hire someone or sell the business. This is pretty much everything you can do. Leaving the country is actually an option but might be quite dangerous depending on your current location.

ORIGINAL QUESTION: Is there anything I can do to save my SaaS startup?

Its kind of insane to suggest someone jump bail and flee their country without actually knowing their full situation and them as a person.

Message me. I might be in a position to take it over until you get out. I realize I'm a stranger, but communicate with me and maybe we can figure something out together.

One question: what's your best estimate of the jail time you'll get? Apologies if it's mentioned elsewhere in the thread and I missed it...

Good luck, and I'm so sorry about your situation. I hope you have good legal and family support and that you find someone to maintain your startup.

Outrageous. I can't accept things like this are still happening in 2013. Please tell me that you at least considered leaving your country.

You leaving america soon?

Justin carter for example


Thrown in jail with a prohibitive bail for months, beaten there, and finally thanks to an anonymous donor out on bail but still facing years in jail for one facebook comment. And that's just the most readily available example.

Please less hyperbole and naivety

dschulz is American?

To everyone, I urge you to stop commenting on religion. With all the comments I read, says the OP is innocent and it's the religion at fault. You do not have the complete knowledge nor the right to just go on insulting other's religion.

The OP is smart enough to use the language and not show the link to the posting that has landed him into the trouble.

I do have sympathy for OP, but this discussion is going way on a different track. I also advice the HN admins to delete this post.

For reference, this appears to be what got him in trouble (this was posted elsewhere in this discussion): http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/18/sex-bloggers-coul...


So yes, it would be hasty to jump to the conclusion that the religion is to blame, but based on what is presented in the article, it's pretty safe to say he wouldn't be imprisoned if he did the exact same thing in a non-Muslim state.

Seriously if I'm going to prison, worrying about my SaaS app is probably the last thing on my mind.

I think I owe my paying customers some obligation to keep providing good service, prison or otherwise.

Can you provide a link? (I know it's not going to help, but curious about your startup)

Forget about the business for a while and do your absolute best escape to a free country.

Sorry to hear this. Jumping bail and escaping the country, is a valid option, in my mind.

I have an activist media company. We'd be happy to help you. anthony + @175g + .com

How many years are you going in prison? How do you feel giving away equity?

Is that really the most important question you should be asking?

Whats the company address?

Can you flee the country?

Request political asylum?

how much do you want to sell it for?

which country?


Fuck religion; the lack of existence of any kind of deity can be proven with etymology

I think the Bible even hints at that.

Having read it I believe the fundamental message of the bible is to believe in yourself and humanity. We are god. I am god. I am my own god. We are our own gods.

Indeed, the bible warns of false gods and / or prophets. I believe that refers to the gods and prophets of organised mass religion.

There for, a deity is a false god.

I think the bible is deliberately misinterpreted to support great structures of power and control. If people read it with the idea that organised religion never existed, its very concept non existent, they would see a completely different message.

I do not know, but I suspect this would be true for all the books of the major organised religions.

Singapore is 100% not a Muslim country. Looks like he's in Malaysia.

Read E-Myth. Then you'll know what to do.

if anyone here helped you it would be a real shame for HN. if you did offend another religion and rightly convicted then you should pay the price of your apathy and recklessness. jail should not be the price you have to pay, but instead you she be outcast by the community, at least on HN.

Right, because offending a religion is reason enough to become an outcast. What is this, the digital dark ages? Religion should be a force to unite people in something positive, not a way for a bunch of sub-groups to tell others how to live their lives.

Offense is in the eye of the beholder, what offends me is that there are people that would jail others based on insulting religions. And I say that as an atheist, my choice on that front already offends some religious people, go figure.

If you subscribe to a religion then you should live by its rules, those rules should not be part of the rules that run a country but they should allow the religious community to determine who is part of the 'in-group' and who is not.

And they should leave everybody else alone.

As someone raised where I was raised, I agree with you.

As someone firmly rooted in reality - I can't. When we participate in a community (be it religious or otherwise, be it of our own informed choice or not) we are bound by the rules of that community. When we knowingly break the rules of that community, we implicitly accept the potential consequences.

No matter how petty or offensive it seems that insulting a religion is grounds for imprisonment -- within the context of that community this is not something up for debate.

You say that the religion's rules "should not be" part of the rules that run a country. Maybe to your view and mine, this is true - but to the view of a sufficient number of people who actually make up that community, this is not true.

If enough people question it, then the rules of the community will change. But unfortunately, such change will require a critical mass of people breaking those rules - and being willing accept the consequences.

And unfortunately, it's that simple.

I recognize the fact that there are countries with quite a few frustrated people that would like nothing better than to be able to control the rest of their fellow human beings and to tell them how to live and that in such countries one could easily get in trouble with the law for behavior that is perfectly ordinary elsewhere.

My way of dealing with that is to refuse to do business with places that are set up like that. It seems to be the easiest way to deal with this problem, then I don't need to wonder what to say/do/not say/not do in order to avoid giving offense to someone with an ax to grind.

There are countries where it is illegal to write certain words, paint pictures, teach women, get an education, complain that you've been raped and so on. The list is long and makes for very sad reading because it shows us how far we as humanity still have to go to get to a more enlightened level. Some people would happily revert to the stone age if that meant that their bearded invisible friend gets to call the shots.

In the end, it's all just little people wrecking it for the rest of us, and this makes me slightly sad that I'm an atheist and not a Roman Catholic because then I'd be confident that all these little men (the pope included) would one day burn in hell.

I agree that we live in a very sad world, but your remark is also very sad that you believe forcing other people to your view is also correct same as a religious person. Not to Believe is as religious as someone believing in something, just like not to take a decision is also a decision.

Change has to come from within and cannot be forced because we believe it is right or wrong else we create resistance to change, which perpetuates the injustice which we want to remove.

Freedom and Slavery are one and the same thing, it is the level of restrictions which defines whether you are in a Slave environment or Free Environment and it is also complicated by the fact that one person's view of slavery/freedom is different from another person's view.

Avoiding to deal with it does not make the problem go away, it still exists and when intelligent people do this, it will still exist for ever.

It is never little people wrecking it for the rest of us, it is us, the little people wrecking for everyone in the name of dogmas without understanding the consequences of our own actions.

I take issue with your statement that "not to believe is as religious as someone believing in something".

Being atheist myself, this is inaccurate. I consider the existence or non-existence of a deity to be a non-issue, so it is not that I am actively refuting something that is disputed.

The best way to understand this is to look at the "cosmic teapot" anecdote (or the "flying spaghetti monster" to be more current). It is impossible to disprove that there is a giant teapot floating in orbit near Mars which is impervious to all forms of human detection. Does this mean that you or I are members of an anti-teapot religious group? Of course not - the question of whether or not the teapot exists simply has no relevance for us and is therefore ignored.

Refusing to do business with certain countries is not the same as forcing others to believe as I do.

someone who has just been convicted for offending another religion inside their own country is talking about enlightenment. im loving this.

You suffer from serious reading comprehension failure.

you just offended a religion. how different are you from the OP?

> you just offended a religion.

I did? Oh my.

this is freedom of speech. blunt offense and apathy.

I guess the most striking difference is that jacquesm hasn't been convicted of anything.

you had no reason to offend another religion. you take religion lightly. you should be educated on other cultures. it is not smart to see people dying for their religion all around the world, and then go around offending them claiming that it is your digital right. that is extremely apathetic. im against you being jailed, but i am with you being outcast from society until you appreciate other people's cultures. You don't seem to deny offending another religion, so i assume you have been rightly convicted.

I appreciate plenty of cultures, indeed I've tried to learn languages to better understand them, but I'm sure that doesn't mean I have to agree with them.

Assuming I have some criticisms of the application of Islamic laws, why must I ask your permission to express them, and to hold political opinions in general? I'm sure that some of my opinions would be held offensive by someone, does that mean I have "offended a religion/culture"?

if you merely criticized religious laws, then i apologize and take back all what i said and believe the you have been not rightly convicted. if you have been convicted however because you insulted that religion (insensitive photograph, your words nit mine) then you should be outcast like a drunk bee.

> your words nit[sic] mine

This was my first comment on this thread, and I'm not the one who submitted it. Read the usernames attached to the posts.

> if...you insulted that religion

As I said, it depends on my opinions and the definition of insulting - people might be insulted by what I say, I don't know until I've said it, do I.

In Liberal Theory (On Liberty, JS Mill) it is said that freedom of thought (believing something) and freedom of expression (expressing that belief, whether in a wordy article on political theory or a catchy, easy to understand cartoon) are so close as to be indistinguishable; since one cannot really claim to believe something if one cannot express it. You are trying to distinguish between the two; I don't think that's philosophically valid.

Additionally, you seem to be saying that you think it should be against the law to be rude. I will no doubt offend you if I say "how very English that sounds".

i think the human brain is more powerful than what you or what you state believe. humans can easily distinguish between freedom of expression and an offense.

> humans can easily distinguish between freedom of expression and an offense.

Offense is interpretation. This is fundamental to Liberal Theory.

In some cultures, some things are considered racist, in others they are not. see: "Black Person Toothpaste" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlie (In China, a popular brand of toothpaste. In the UK, US, and I'd hope much of Europe, the name and the packaging would be considered extremely offensive[1].)

If "humans" don't agree on what's offensive (as I have proved with the toothpaste example), then something isn't "offensive" in and of itself; offense is an opinion about the object ("We think this opinion is offensive"). You can hardly convict someone of "causing our people to interpret something as offensive".

[1] although perhaps not in Italy... http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/jul/30/italy...

'Religion' cannot be offended. People can.

And if they are so easily offended, this is not OP's fault.

What if his culture is anti-religious? Aren't you being offensive by saying he should appreciate religious cultures?

there is respect even between enemies. if his religion is anti religious, then he should respect them even more because they are his opponents. taking your enemies lightly is reckless.

That's one of the stupidest things I've ever read.

its interesting that you find this stupid, but not the fact that his religion is anti-relgious. you're really smart.

this is not about religion. this is about the idiots who think the religion is untouchable. how come a religion is getting offended by a picture. can a picture make you think that your religion is less valuable after you see it? imagine that i'm worshiping to cream cheese and you laugh on that. so now i have enough reason to jail you, even better, kill you. because cream cheese said so.

so you're saying a rude picture is not offensive? how can i argue with you?

Dear Moubarak, thank you for expressing your opinion. THIS is the beauty of something called freedom of speech: I don't like what you're saying, I think it's even offending to me, however, you have the right to say this. You don't get jailed and you don't get outcasted.

Based on this comment as well as several others, you appear to be under the impression that jacquesm is the OP. That is not the case, and I'm not sure how you made that mistake.

This is exactly the kind of emotional ranting, that has created a negative opinion against Muslims.

Assuming he/she is 100% wrong in what he/she did, why should the punishment be more than the crime? Why outcast? Isn't doing the sentence enough? And if it's not enough, then the damn law needs fixing.

i said not jail, but outcast, until he learns to respect other cultures. then he is welcome again. that is 100 times better than jail.

Well that attitude offends my religion. By your own logic you should be arrested, thrown in jail and outcast from society.

yes if you can prove i offended your religion then i should be outcast. when did i exclude myself?

I am a secular humanist. As part of my faith, I believe that human beings have an inalienable right to freedom of speech without fear of persecution. I find your advocation of outcasting from society those who say things that you find offensive as offensive as you would find a Quran being flushed down a toilet. There's the door.

the Quran is nothing but paper. flushing it down the toilet however is not like flushing a piece of paper. flushing a holy book down the toilet is a message of enmity. why do you speak so illogically.

So you've offended my religion. Should you be outcast or not? Try to stay focused here, it's not hard.

you have only showed that your values are different. you ave not shown that i flushed your values in the toilet, nor published insensitive photos of your values (like the OP did). do you need help defining the work insult?

Clearly I did need help defining the word insult, thanks for clearing that up for me. When you get offended it's an insult but when I get offended by your wrecklessness and apathy, that's just our values being different. All makes sense now.

fyi, me and my 59836 friends believes that the computer keyboards are our gods. and our religion says that if a person from another religion touches a keyboard he should be outcasted.

i respect your god more than you do, because i think before i type.

I see no evidence of that. In fact, I see the exact opposite.

if you'd capable to think you must have seen there is something wrong with your religion by now. have you ever read your holly book, did you notice hundreds of mistakes in it? marriage with a 9 years old is ok but posting a picture of yourself while eating some food needs outcast. what you believe in your sick mind is your own business. don't try to spread this illness here and get the fuck out of my sight.

as a side note, i born as a muslim and read the kuran several times. don't try to teach me islam here. if a person doesn't believe to allah, it's his own problem. who are you to decide that. are you allah?

lol. marrying a 9 year old? that's sick. is that what you got reading the quran? are you sure you weren't reading playboy?

since your nickname is moubarek I bet you know who is muhammad. aisha was just six years old when she was betrothed to muhammad, and only nine when the marriage was consummated. It's sahih hadiths. Suit yourself here: Sahih Bukhari volume 5, book 58, number 234

please send me the playboy version of yours which states that he slept with a nine year old. this doesnt state he slept with her nor is it a reference from any holy book. i hope you also understand that this has no place here on HN. if you like please go ahead and use my email from my profile.

are you aware of that you offended muslims by calling Sahih al-Bukhari's book so muhammad's and his entourage's words as playboy magazine?

http://www.sahih-bukhari.com/Pages/Bukhari_5_58.php I hope you know how to scroll down.

btw why are you so obsessive about playboy? In my country we say, man's thoughts are revealed in his speech. No body said they slept. When you first heard marriage, it was sick enough. Now you saw the truth and trying to cover it with "yeah, but they didn't sleep together, it's not written anywhere" . yes i'm talking only about the written part. why he married with a child? go to the nearest mosque and ask your imam. maybe he will tell you.

And I totally agree with you. HN is not the place that you can bullshit freely. Outcast yourself please.

This is HN. It is a community based around tech startups and the culture of Silicon Valley. This means it is not a deeply Muslim community, and what might be unacceptable in any deeply religious community is normal here. I hope you don't go because you have been very civil and I think a healthy community has diverse members, but if anyone is an outcast here it is you.

who said it is a muslim community. im just saying HN should not be refuge for immoral people who insult other people's cultures. speaking of tech startups and silicon valley, a muslim guy invented algorithms. the word algorithm is a transliteration of his name. his first name is Mohamed. without him, HN nor silicon valley would exist today. in that sense, the OP made an insult to the Tech world as a whole.

It seems like you're desperately trying to inject religion into an argument where it's wholly irrelevant. Take this at face value: HN is about tech. Religion is not tech, therefore it's not at the forefront of discussion (with the exception of this trainwreck of a tangent).

Someone is facing legal action for posting pictures and need help with their startup. The context of their conviction isn't relevant for the discussion. Similarly; Al-Khwarithmi's religion is not relevant to us whatsoever. They're really interesting tech stories with human-interest stores intermingled - it's not difficult at all to focus just on the tech aspect.

I'm confused by your last point too - we aren't here to sit and discuss some kind of homogenous technocratic dogma. It's a poor example in any case - tech seems to prompt the some of most fervent rounds mud-slinging of all topics up for discussion on the internet.

did you read the description? not so secular isn't it? so if the description is not secular, how am i desperately injecting religion? what kind of filtering did you use when you read the description? im very curious.

From the title:

> Ask HN: I might be going to prison soon, how to save my one-man SaaS startup?

That's what the discussion should be about. Perhaps OP shouldn't have mentioned his "crime", but the fact that it's religious has no bearing on how he handles running a startup from jail.

so you simply filtered the entire description. fair enough.

its simply what the original discussion was about. the specific reason he is being jailed could be 1st degree murder for all the difference it makes. He wasn't asking help to get out of jail.

that is what i meant. it just happens that the OP is convicted against religion. if it was 1st degree murder id say the same, dont support him on HN. your point of view is clear and straight forward that regardless of the crime, HN is a place where such people can be supported.

> who said it is a muslim community

I interpreted your position as applying muslim community standards in what is not a muslim community. This is a very liberal community in which insulting religions for humorous effect is perfectly ok.

> not be refuge for immoral people who insult other people's cultures

"there seems a clear correlation between intelligence and willingness to consider shocking ideas". "In any competitive field, you can win big by seeing things that others daren't" http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html)

or see for example (http://xkcd.com/137/)

This community willingly asks questions that would be considered 'immoral' elsewhere.

> a muslim guy invented algorithms

Irrelevant. Alan Turing was gay and Ada Lovelace was female.

the OP didn't insult gay people nor females, that's why those are irrelevant.

If the OP was facing jail for insulting gay people or "females" (I "love" the implicit denigration of women as lesser you're performing here) in in the US, there would be a _huge_ fund out to defend them, outpoor of money and support, and organizations like ACLU coming to his aid. There would be a bi-partisan outrage against this. We would all say that we disagree with what he said and consider it stupid/immature/offensive but that he had every legal right to say it. To use a real example, see the case of weev: his personality and actions were extremely offensive and poisonous but currently he is in prison on trumped charge of computer trespass due to a stupid law (CFAA). Yet, most are rallying behind him despite having been very familiar with results of his denigration of others (e.g., Kathy Sierra).

Here's a new word for you: liberty. It doesn't mean "only liberty to do things that _I_ like", it means tolerating when others do things I don't like, as long these don't constitute (in words of US Supreme Court) a "clear and present danger" to me or others. I don't have a right to post a list of mosques in my area and encourage others to attack their members (if I do so I should very much be arrested, thrown in jail, and forced to pay restitution if any vandalism, property damage, or violence has occurred); I do have a right to say that prohibition of pork both in Islam and my religion (Judaism) is outdated and silly (it made sense when there was no refrigeration and eating pork in a hot climate meant a risk of trichinosis, but it makes no sense now), you have a right to disagree and continue to not eat pork.

There is nothing inherently Western about this idea too. If you don't treat the concept as binary but as a continuum, it's clear that during the Middle Ages parts of Islamic world were more free than most parts of the Western world. There are many Western detractors of the idea of liberty, there are many Eastern (including Islamic) defenders of the concept (see http://www.nocompulsioninislam.com/nocompulsion.html for examples from your own culture, see Mencious and Laozi for examples from Chinese culture).

Being offended does not constitute "clear and present danger". I personally find the literal text of Torah, New Testament, and Koran to be extremely offensive -- but I understand that they are not meant to be taken literally (but frequently are with disastrous results), were written a in different time and in different circumstances, and will do all I can to prevent those texts from being censored.

Indeed. and he didn't insult the inventor of algorithms either. Look, not all jokes involving females are insulting Ada Lovelace. Not all jokes about gay people are insults of Alan Turing. Not all jokes about a specific practice of muslims are insults to Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī.

I find your post offensive. Please outcast yourself.

how did i insult you? i'd like to know before outcasting myself.

You insulted me as well; I actually got slightly annoyed reading your outcasting post. Something which rarely happens to me on HN. You should respect each other's religion as long as this religion doesn't interfere with the basic structure and functioning of society.

Now you were talking generally, not Malaysian only, which means that your 'rules' interfere with my freedom of speech (which is normal in my society) and that supersedes your religion, whatever it is.

Now as I am a social beast, I personally know many (devout) religious people, muslims, buddhists, catholics, christians and besides my high school religion teacher and in some fanatical news on the tv I haven't heard many people talk like you. Most people I know who are religious, believe in good for all and turning the other cheek. I am an atheist, but sometimes I wish I could believe something like that. If I would tell my good friend Muhammed (who is a hardworking plumber in my village) about this Malaysian guy, he would pray Allah for his release and fulfilling life. He would not feel any 'offensive' thing here. That's how it's supposed to be imho.

you know nothing about those religions, because non of them promote jail. they all outcast the criminals. please dont have strong opinions about something you know nothing about.

Don't put words in my mouth please; I can't seem to find where I mentioned 'jail'? I am saying that none of the religious people I know would call this person 'criminal', would ask for him to be 'outcast' or any other 'punishment' for this freedom of speech 'incident'.

you are putting words into your religious friend's mouths. this is ridiculous. who am i arguing with.

I personally find deeply offensive any religion whose followers' responses to insults are violence, or threats of violence.

You insulted him by showing apathy towards his religiously held beliefs for a just law and proportionate punishment for the crime and his dislike for mob justice as you proposed in your earlier post.


icebraining, I couldn't have used better words than those.

hasty generalizations, high school stuff. you should learn how to argue.

HN has an incredibly liberal slant, see the front page since Edward Snowden started leaking documents. I don't think the the "average" opinion would be that someone isn't welcome here because they pissed someone off. Look at all the snark that gets thrown around.

offending a religion for no reason is not equal to pissing someone off. i doubt you will be responsible for any judgement with that level of intellect.

Offending a religion is just pissing a bunch of people off. So instead of one person that needs to grow up its a whole bunch of them.

Difference in degree, not in kind.

your value of a bunch of people is amazing.

You really should learn how free and open societies work. Here's Hans Teeuwen, dutch comedian, explaining it to a few of your fellow muslims: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNBnZsbAWGo

(English subtitles are available, click on 'captions' option.)

free and open, thats comedy by itself. you are the comedian sir.

Offence is taken, not given. Religious people choose to take offence. They literally don't have to take offence if they don't want to. In doing so, they validate who ever they chose to be offended by, which ironically weakens their religion and themselves personally.

a synonym to offense is attack. an attack is taken not given doesnt make sense.

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