Lee Hsien Yang puts up $20,000 security deposit for activist Jolovan Wham's appeal

Activist Jolovan Wham (right) said on Twitter that Lee Hsien Yang had reached out to him and offered to put up the security deposit on his behalf. PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has put up $20,000 as a security deposit for activist Jolovan Wham to appeal against his contempt of court conviction.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday (May 22) morning, Mr Wham wrote: "Fortunately, the Prime Minister's brother, Lee Hsien Yang, reached out to me and offered to put up the security for costs on my behalf. I'm grateful to him for his generosity."

In April, Mr Wham and opposition politician John Tan were each fined $5,000 by the High Court for scandalising the judiciary in separate posts on Facebook. Mr Wham was also ordered to pay $7,298 in legal costs and disbursements to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), while Mr Tan was ordered to pay $6,966.

Mr Wham had made a Facebook post on April 27 last year stating that Singapore's courts are not as independent as Malaysia's in cases with political implications.

His post included a link to an online article, "Malaysiakini mounts constitutional challenge against Anti-Fake News Act".

The Attorney-General then initiated a contempt of court action against him.

Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, who is representing Mr Wham for free, said the money was sent to his firm's client account on May 16. "I was told it was for Jolovan's security for costs of the appeal," he said.

Mr Wham said his lawyers had told him about the deposit, and that Mr Lee Hsien Yang did not give reasons for providing the money.

But the depositing of the money "did not come as a surprise to me", Mr Wham added.

Those who appeal a High Court decision are required to put up a security deposit, which they may not be able to recover if they lose the appeal.

Last year, Mr Lee Hsien Yang also donated what he called a "meaningful sum" to blogger Leong Sze Hian, who is facing a defamation suit from PM Lee.

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