Friday, December 19, 2014

Court allows PKR veep to challenge Sedition Act

Published: 19 December 2014
Lawyer Latheefa Koya (right) says the attorney-general should apply the same argument he used in letting go Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali in the sedition charge against PKR vice-president N. Surendran (left). – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 19, 2014.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya (right) says the attorney-general should apply the same argument he used in letting go Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali in the sedition charge against PKR vice-president N. Surendran (left). – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 19, 2014.The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today allowed Padang Serai MP N. Surendran's application to refer his sedition charge to the High Court based on two constitutional questions.
The PKR vice-president had initially applied for three questions to be referred but the court had only allowed two: that the Sedition Act is unconstitutional as it was not passed in Parliament and has been in place before independence, and that the law was extreme in restricting a person's rights.
His lawyer Latheefa Koya said that the court did not allow the third question which also challenges the constitutionality of the law as it does not require one to have any element of intention to be charged.
"The court has granted us a stay pending a decision by the High Court on these questions," she said.
"But we will be appealing against the non-reference of the third question. We are saying that, if you don't have intention, it is unconstitutional to charge anyone under that law."
She said Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had used the same argument when he decided to close the case against Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali over his bible-burning threat.
Gani had said Ibrahim's statement must be viewed in its entire context.
"When studied in its entire context, Datuk Ibrahim's statement is not categorised as having seditious tendencies.
"It was clear Datuk Ibrahim Ali had no intention to create religious tension, but was only defending the purity of Islam," Gani had said.
Latheefa said the same consideration must also be given in Surendran's case.
"The A-G himself had used 'intention' as a point before charging someone and this is the point we are trying to make here.
"Why so selective when it comes to Ibrahim?" she added.
Surendran was charged with sedition at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur on August 19, over a press release he issued titled “Fitnah II is flawed, defensive and insupportable” on April 14, 2014.
His statement was in relation to PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against the sodomy conviction last March.
Universiti Malaya law professor Dr Azmi Sharom had also successfully deferred his sedition case, allowing him to challenge the constitutionality of the Sedition Act 1948 at the High Court.
Azmi’s case will be heard by the Federal Court after High Court judge Kamardin Hashim referred his constitutional challenge straight to the apex court. – December 19, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/court-allows-pkr-veep-to-challenge-sedition-act#sthash.MoUFG0oV.dpuf

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