Indonesian Christian therapist Halimah is mulling legal action on the action of the Penang Islamic authorities that led to her being convicted of close proximity (khalwat) three years ago.
Halimah’s lawyer is considering this following her discharge and acquittal by the Penang Lower Syariah Court today.
Cecil Rajendra (left), who is holding a watching brief for the Bar Council, said Halimah had been “wrongfully prosecuted” and that she and her employer, Josephine Ong, a spa operator in George Town, were mulling legal action.
“We will be discussing the next step to take. I have always maintained that Halimah is a Christian and that the syariah court has no jurisdiction over her,” Cecil said.
Today, syariah judge Zaimi Abd Rahim dismissed the charge against Halimah, 42, after allowing the application by syariah prosecuting officer Mohd Fahmie. There was no objection from defence council Wan Faridulhadi Mohd Yusoff.
Also present in court was Indonesian Consulate-General information officer Andy Mauluma.
Court orders fine paid to be returned
Zaimi also ordered the RM3,000 fine paid by Halimah to be returned to her.
Halimah, a mother of four, expressed relief over her freedom, saying with tears, “I can now continue to work and return home to Indonesia to see my family.”
Halimah was not able to return, even to attend the wedding of one of her children, due to the court case
Her ordeal began on Dec 8, 2011, when she was detained by the Penang Islamic Affairs Department (JAIPP) at her place of employment on Jalan Siang Tek and charged in court on May 15, 2012, where she had pleaded guilty.
She was then sentenced to 14 days’ jail and fined RM3,000. She later filed an appeal at the Syariah High Court, which upheld the lower court’s sentence.
Halimah further appealed to the Syariah Court of Appeal, which struck out her case today following intervention by the Indonesian Consulate, which verified Halimah’s documents as proof that she is Christian and not Muslim as charged.