Li Shengwu announced his decision to pay the S$15,000 fine for being found to be in contempt of court, but added that he does not admit guilt.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug 11), a day before the deadline to make payment, Mr Li wrote: I have an announcement to make about my legal case in Singapore”.
“I have decided to pay the fine, in order to buy some peace and quiet. Paying the fine avoids giving the Singapore government an easy excuse to attack me and my family”, Mr Li wrote.
The nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong continued, “I do not admit guilt. I have never denied writing what I wrote, to my friends in a private Facebook post. I disagree that my words were illegal. Moreover, civilized countries should not fine or jail their citizens for private comments on the court system”.
Mr Li also remarked that while he was charged for scandalizing the judiciary, “The true scandal is the misuse of state resources to repress private speech. In the course of this three-year prosecution, the Singapore Attorney General’s chambers has written thousands of pages of legal documents, suppressed parts of my defence affidavit, and demanded that I reveal to them all of my friends on Facebook”.
Mr Li, grandson of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University living in the United States, was found guilty of contempt of court last month.
He was ordered to pay the fine of S$15,000 within two weeks, or serve a week’s jail in default.
He was also ordered to pay about S$16,000 for costs and disbursements.
He was found guilty over a private Facebook post he made in 2017, where he shared a link to a New York Times editorial titled Censored In Singapore, with a description saying: “Keep in mind, of course, that the Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system.”
Mr Li’s Facebook post was shared on social media by his father, Mr Lee Hsien Yang.