Singapore Blogger Apologizes, Fined Over Post Criticizing Courts

A Singapore blogger was fined S$8,000 ($5,843) for being in contempt of court over an article on a law banning sex between men after apologizing for the offense.

Prosecutors, who didn’t seek a jail sentence, had asked for a fine of at least S$10,000. Alex Au Wai Pang, whose apology was read in court today, sought a maximum fine of S$6,000 from Singapore High Court Justice Belinda Ang, who had convicted him of contempt in January.

The attorney general’s office had said Au insinuated in a 2013 post that there was a plan to manipulate hearing dates of a challenge to the constitutionality of Singapore’s ban on gay sex. The ban was upheld by the city’s highest court in October. Ang, in her Jan. 21 ruling, disagreed with the office that another of his posts on a separate lawsuit, was in contempt.

Au, born in 1952, said after the hearing he has filed an appeal for his conviction.

Contempt of court carries a possible penalty of a jail sentence, a fine, or both. There’s no maximum penalty specified under Singapore’s constitution.

British author Alan Shadrake was jailed for six weeks and fined S$20,000 in 2011 for accusing Singapore’s courts in a book of succumbing to political pressure and favoring the rich over the poor. Appeal Judge Andrew Phang had called it the “worst” case of contempt to come before the Singapore courts.

The case is Attorney-General v Au Wai Pang, OS1098/2013, Singapore High Court.

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