UPDATE: The High Court has given approval to the AGC to commence proceedings against Li for contempt of court in relation to his Facebook post.
Li Shengwu, the nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said on Monday (21 August) that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) accepts that he does not need to delete a private post on his Facebook page after he has amended it.
Separately, the High Court gave its approval to the AGC on Monday to commence proceedings against Li for contempt of court in relation to his Facebook post.
In a public post on his Facebook page, the eldest son of Lee Hsien Yang reproduced what was supposedly a letter written to the AGC dated 18 August in response to its letter on 8 August.
In it, the 32-year-old junior fellow at Harvard University recounted the issues arising from his private post on 15 July, which the AGC alleged that Li had made “false and baseless allegations” about the lack of independence of the Singapore judiciary.
“AGC in its initial letter to me dated 21 July even required that I delete and remove my 15 July private post from my ‘Facebook page and any other social/online media and other documents in your possession, custody or control’. AGC now accepts in its letter of 8 August that I need not delete my private post as I have amended it,” Li said in his latest post.
In response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore on Li’s latest Facebook post, AGC said, “The High Court has, on 21 August 2017, granted the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) leave to commence committal proceedings against Mr Li Shengwu for contempt of court in connection with the publication of a Facebook post.
“The AGC will next file a substantive application with the High Court for an order of committal against Mr Li. Mr Li will be notified of the proceedings. In accordance with the Rules of Court, he will be served with all the necessary documents to allow him to respond. If Mr Li is overseas, the AGC will file an application for service of documents out of Singapore.”
AGC had demanded that Li apologise and undertake not to repeat the allegations and that if he were to comply, AGC is prepared to drop its legal proceedings that it has filed against him, according to Li.
Li reproduced in his latest post the 8 August letter sent by AGC, which states, “In view of the fact that you have amended the Post, paragraph 3 of the apology and undertaking can be amended to state: “I hereby undertake not to repeat the allegations, or make any further similar allegations.””
In response, Li said, “AGC’s latest demands require that I make statements that are untrue and contradict my public post and my response to AGC of 4 August, and require that I apologise for assertions that I did not make.
“The truth matters: I cannot confess to a crime I did not commit in return for a discontinuance of the legal proceedings against me.”
In a statement on 4 August, AGC said that it has filed an application in the High Court to commence proceedings against Li for contempt of court over his Facebook post.
In response, Li claimed on 5 August in a reply to queries from Yahoo News Singapore that the contempt of court proceedings were “politically motivated”.
Li said in his latest post, “In making its allegations and demands, AGC has relied on an unverified screenshot of my private facebook page. Curiously, my uncle PM Lee Hsien Loong’s press secretary is aware of these demands that AGC made to me privately. She disclosed these demands to the public on 18 August.”
Last Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) refuted claims by Li in a Reuters article that he left Singapore for the US over fears that he would be detained and interrogated by the authorities in relation to the case filed by AGC.
“Clear laws and procedures apply to all cases of contempt, including this case involving Mr Li. The courts will decide on the merits of the case,” said Chiang Li Lin, press secretary to PM Lee in the PMO statement.
“AGC has told Mr Li that if he apologised for his comments, then the proceedings against him will be withdrawn. Mr Li has not done so,” she added.