KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court threw out a legal challenge against the raid, seizure of Irshad Manji’s controversial book and the related arrest of the book publisher’s director four years ago.
Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah today dismissed the judicial review application by ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and its director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid. During open-court proceedings,
Hanipah allowed a preliminary objection by Assistant State Legal Advisors Naziah Mokhtar against the legal action. Naziah acted for the Selangor government. Naziah argued that the judicial review application should be dismissed as a Federal Court ruling on Sept 28 last year had already decided on the central issue in the legal action.
On Sept 28 last year, the Federal Court ruled that a provision in the Selangor state Syariah law – criminalising Muslims for publishing and disseminating religious books against the Islamic law – is valid.
The apex court said that it was within the power of the Selangor state legislative assembly to enact Section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995, the provision under which Ezra was charged in the Syariah Court in 2013.
Ezra, who is the son of former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, was charged with allegedly publishing the Canadian author’s book; Allah, Love and Liberty, which was deemed against “hukum syarak”.
When contacted after proceedings today, lawyer Fahri Azzat, who acted for ZI Publications and Ezra, said he would seek instructions from his clients on whether to appeal.
Filed on July 9, 2012, the judicial review application named the Selangor Islamic Religious Department(Jais), its director-general, the state religious enforcement chief officer, the state syarie chief prosecutor, the state government and Federal Government as respondents.
ZI Publications and Ezra claimed that Jais had conducted the raid on May 29, 2012, at the publisher’s premises in Merchant Square, Petaling Jaya, and seized 180 copies of the book entitled Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta (Allah, Liberty and Love).
They also alleged that Jais had arrested Ezra, brought him to its office and later to the Shah Alam Lower Syariah Court.
They claimed that the raid and seizure were unlawful because Jais had no jurisdiction over the publisher, among others.