Ezra Zaid’s Shariah trial over Irshad Manji’s book begins

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — The Shariah court today decided that Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid’s trial over a book will proceed on February 22 despite a pending civil court case challenging his Shariah prosecution.

Zulkifli Che Yong, the lawyer for Ezra in the Shariah case, confirmed that there was a hearing today for his client’s application to stay the Shariah trial until the conclusion of a separate case at the civil courts.

“The court fixed for trial 22 February,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

On March 7, 2013, Ezra was charged as ZI Publications’ director and majority shareholder under Section 16(1)(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 with two alternative counts of publishing and distributing the Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta book, as well as a third alternative count under Section 16(1)(b) for possession of 180 copies of the book.

Anyone convicted under Section 16(1) — which makes it an offence to print, publish, disseminate, or possessing for sale or for dissemination books “contrary to Islamic law” — is liable to a maximum RM3,000 fine or maximum two-year jail or both.

Pic from The Malay Mail Online

Farhan Haziq Mohamed, a lawyer representing Ezra in the civil courts, confirmed the decision by the Petaling Jaya Shariah Subordinate Court judge Syukran Yusoff on his client’s bid to defer the Shariah trial until the civil court case is resolved.

The case pending in the civil courts is a lawsuit filed by Ezra to challenge the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (Jais) arrest and prosecution of him over the Bahasa Malaysia version of Canadian writer Irshad Manji’s Allah, Liberty and Love book.

The judicial review filed by ZI Publications and Ezra in July 2012 is against six parties ― Jais, Jais’ director-general, Jais chief enforcement officer, Selangor’s chief Syarie prosecutor, the Selangor government and the Malaysian government.

In the civil suit, ZI Publications and Ezra are seeking for a number of court orders, including the quashing of Jais’ raid and seizure on May 29, 2012 of 180 copies of the BM book, and an order for the return of the books seized.

The High Court initially granted leave to hear the lawsuit, but last September 6 dismissed it without hearing the case following a preliminary objection by Jais.

The Court of Appeal had in April unanimously decided, however, that Ezra’s case should be sent back to the High Court to be heard on its merits before a new judge, with Jais informing the courts in May that it would not appeal this decision.

But the Selangor religious authorities have now said they will file a preliminary objection against the case.

“The respondents wanted to file preliminary objection by November 30. On December 5, the court will decide whether to listen to the preliminary objection or proceed with hearing,” Farhan Haziq told Malay Mail Online.

The hearing of the case was initially fixed for August 28, but was subsequently deferred to November 9 before being rescheduled to December 5.

The December 5 hearing of the preliminary objection will be before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Said.

In a separate civil lawsuit, the High Court and Court of Appeal had both ruled in 2013 and 2015 in favor of ZI Publications, quashing the government’s ban of the Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta book.

The Federal Court had last February granted the government leave for an appeal against the reversal of the book ban, but Farhan Haziq confirmed today that no hearing date has been fixed for this appeal yet.

Pic from The Malay Mail Online

 

Ezra Zaid’s Shariah trial over book to start Feb 22

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — The Shariah court today decided that Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid’s trial over a book will proceed on February 22 despite a pending civil court case challenging his Shariah prosecution.

Zulkifli Che Yong, the lawyer for Ezra in the Shariah case, confirmed that there was a hearing today for his client’s application to stay the Shariah trial until the conclusion of a separate case at the civil courts.

“The court fixed for trial 22 February,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

On March 7, 2013, Ezra was charged as ZI Publications’ director and majority shareholder under Section 16(1)(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 with two alternative counts of publishing and distributing the Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta book, as well as a third alternative count under Section 16(1)(b) for possession of 180 copies of the book. Read more

Ezra Zaid to stand Shariah trial after failing to nullify Selangor law on un-Islamic books charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

ZI Publications Sdn Bhd director Ezra Zaid, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and lawyer Pavendeep Singh are seen at the Federal Court, Putrajaya, September 28, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 — Publisher Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid will have to face trial in the Shariah Court after failing to persuade the country’s highest court to nullify a Selangor law that makes it an offence for Muslims to publish books the state religious authority deems un-Islamic.

Earlier today, the Federal Court dismissed Ezra and his publishing firm ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s bid to have Section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 declared invalid, with the country’s supreme court ruling that the Selangor state assembly had acted within its powers under the Federal Constitution when making the law.

In the unanimous decision, a five-judge panel in the Federal Court noted that the Federal Constitution allows states to make laws on offences against the precepts of Islam and showed the intention of the Constitution’s framers to allow Muslims here to also be governed by Islamic personal law.

“In conclusion, we would like to highlight that a Muslim in Malaysia is not only subject to laws enacted by Parliament, but also state laws of religious nature enacted by legislature of a state,” the Federal Court panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said in a 16-page judgement. Read more