‘Balloon girl’ freed of insulting behaviour

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Source: Malay Mail Online

Bilqis Hijjas is seen with her lawyer, Latheefa Koya, after today’s decision at the Magistrates' Court in Kuala Lumpur November 27, 2017. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Bilqis Hijjas is seen with her lawyer, Latheefa Koya, after today’s decision at the Magistrates’ Court in Kuala Lumpur November 27, 2017. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Dance producer Bilqis Hijjas walked out beaming today after the Magistrates’ Court acquitted her of “insulting behaviour” for dropping yellow balloons at a 2015 event attended by the prime minister and his wife.

“I am very pleased. It has taken two years to get here. Thankful to my lawyers to fight this long fight.

“The point has been made, symbolic resistance is possible. I hope people will take heart from this,” the ecstatic 38-year-old told reporters outside the courtroom at the Kuala Lumpur court complex here.

In his ruling earlier, magistrate Mohd Faizal Ismail said the prosecution had failed to prove that Bilqis had hurt anyone by her actions, adding that her testimony made previously has been consistent.

“As a conclusion, the court is in view that the accused has given a consistent statement all the while. The accused also has followed all orders from police and security there.

“After taking into consideration everything, the court has decided that the accused is freed and acquitted from all charges,” he said.

Bilqis was charged on September 23, 2015 with “insulting behaviour” with the purpose of provoking anger that may cause a breach of peace under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955, which imposes a maximum RM100 fine. The charge but did not specify who was alleged to have been insulted.

She was alleged to have released several yellow balloons printed with the words “Free media,” “Democracy” and “Justice” on August 31, 2015 at around 3.15pm at Pavilion, during the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival’s opening ceremony.

She had been previously acquitted on July 1 this year by the Magistrates’ Court without her defence being called, but the High Court reversed the decision on October 3 after the prosecution appealed and called for a retrial.

She was ordered to enter her defence, which she did on November 7.