KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 ― Shariah prosecutors today finally withdrew two 2014 Shariah charges against Muslim intellectual Kassim Ahmad after the octogenarian’s long court battles, his lawyer confirmed.
Kassim’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan said the 83-year-old will no longer face the two Shariah charges that are both punishable with a maximum RM3,000 fine or maximum two-year jail, or both.
“The charges are all dropped, Kassim is totally free, all three of the bailors are released and bail money is to be returned,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted after Kassim’s case was mentioned at the Putrajaya Shariah High Court.
Rosli said Kassim who is wheelchair-bound was present in court today with his son, along with his bailors Norhayati Kaprawi, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and Fansyurna Syalha Othman who had posted a total of RM6,000 in bail when he was first charged.
Just last week, Kassim’s lawyers had written a letter warning Shariah prosecutors to drop charges against him today, or to face court proceedings for being in contempt of the Court of Appeal and Federal Court’s rulings in his favour.
Kassim — who will be turning 84 next month — had won in the civil courts in his legal challenge against minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Jawi’s then chief Sharie prosecutor Ibrahim Deris, Jawi and the government of Malaysia over his arrest and prosecution in the Shariah courts.
On December 21, 2015, a Court of Appeal panel unanimously found Jawi’s actions on Kassim — including a cross-border arrest using a defective warrant, a detention exceeding 24 hours without access to lawyers and his prosecution ― to be illegal.
The Court of Appeal’s 2015 order had quashed the Federal Territories chief Syarie prosecutor’s decision to charge Kassim in 2014 with two Shariah offences and to continue prosecuting him; with the same court order also directing Jawi to cancel the arrest and bail on him.
The Court of Appeal order also carried an endorsement of a penal notice, which warned that failure to comply with its order to halt the Shariah prosecution could result in a “process of execution” — or contempt of court proceedings — against Jamil Khir as the minister and Mohammad Adib as the Federal Territories chief Sharie prosecutor to compel them to obey.
The Federal Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the Shariah prosecution was invalid last March 7.
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