The Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur has jailed former student leader Adam Adli Abdul Halim to 12 months, having found him guilty of sedition.
The court found Adam Adli's testimony to be a bare denial.
The Sessions Court Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah said that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Adam Adli was accused of making the seditious statement during a post-elections ceramah at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, urging the toppling of the Umno and BN government.
Earlier, his lawyer, Latheefa Koya (right in photo), in mitigation said that this was Adam Adli's first offence and is still studying law at a private college. A first offender under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act is liable to a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a maximum three-year jail term.
She asked that the court impose only a fine as no one was hurt as a result of what her client had said.
However, DPP Mohd Abazafree Mohd Abbas asked for a custodial sentence, as what Adam Adli had said in urging the toppling of a legitimate government was serious.
"The public demands that the sentence serve as a deterrent for others as Adam is bright and he fought for democracy and knows that a change of government should be done through democratic means," said Abazafree.
Public uproar over charging of activists
Another of Adam Adli's counsel, N Surendran, in stating that a fine should suffice as punishment, said there has been a public uproar over the recent charging of activists and opposition politicians with sedition.
He pointed out that attorney-general, Abdul Gani Patail, had issued a statement on Sept 10 that the chambers is reviewing all cases of sedition ,including that of Universiti Malaya academician Azmi Sharom.
Sessions judge Mat Ghani, after hearing arguments from both sides, allowed stay of the sentence and maintained bail at RM5,000.
Also present in the public gallery were Adam Adli's parents, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvam.
Besides Adam Adli, those who were charged with sedition from the same forum were Batu MP and PKR vice-president Tian Chua, PAS' Tamrin Ghafar, student leader Mohd Safwan Anang, activist and lawyer Haris Ibrahim, and activist Hishamuddin Rais.
Mohd Safwan was sentencedearlier this month with 10 months' jail.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Latheefa said they will file a notice of appeal within 30 days and hoped to get the grounds of judgment soon.
“This is a sad day for upholding freedom of expression as we want to know what constitutes sedition as deemed by the judge. In the past, it has been arbitrary,” she said.
Procedure-wise, after filing the notice of appeal, the lawyers will have to file a memorandum of appeal stating the grounds of the appeal.