Activists’ convictions for rioting and illegal assembly upheld

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Source: FMT News Malaysia

High Court says lower court was right in finding 15 people guilty of illegal assembly outside Parliament, during a protest calling for the resignation of the Election Commission chairman, in June 2013. Pic from FMT News.

High Court says lower court was right in finding 15 people guilty of illegal assembly outside Parliament, during a protest calling for the resignation of the Election Commission chairman, in June 2013. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Fifteen activists, including Adam Adli and Safwan Anang, lost their appeals at the High Court here today over illegal assembly and rioting convictions related to a gathering held outside Parliament four years ago.

Justice Azman Abdullah held that the Sessions Court was correct in finding them guilty under Section 143 of the Penal Code for being a member of an illegal assembly, as well as Section 147 of the same Act for rioting.

“The Sessions Court was right in ruling the assembly had turned illegal when the rally-goers refused to disperse when ordered by police,” he said in a brief judgment, adding that all of them had insisted on storming the police barricade.

Azman also ruled that the fines of RM2,000 for participating in the illegal assembly, and RM4,000 for rioting were not excessive.

“The lenient fines were imposed because the assembly did not turn violent and no damage was done to public properties,” he said.

Only four of the 15 activists were present in court today.

They were Annie Ooi, who is popularly known as “Aunty Bersih”, Lim Sue Pei, Norazimah Mohamad and Ahmad Shuqie Abdul Aziz.

Lawyers Haijan Omar and Zulhazmi Shariff appeared for the four. Haijan told the court the four would appeal the convictions.

On June 24, 2013, a group of protesters were stopped from entering the Parliament complex to hand over a memorandum demanding the resignation of then Election Commission chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

On July 29 the same year, 33 activists claimed trial at the Sessions Court here for rioting in front of the Parliament building.

Eighteen of them were acquitted and discharged by the court without calling for their defence while 15 were ordered to enter their defence.