Activists’ convictions for rioting and illegal assembly upheld

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. Read more

Activists lose constitutional challenge to assembly charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

The activists’ lawyer Eric Paulsen says the court rejected the challenge based on a procedural requirement for the application to be first filed at the Sessions Court instead of the High Court. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — The Court of Appeal today struck out a constitutional challenge from four former student activists to set aside the charges against them for assembling in a public place.

A three-judge panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif dismissed the application from Adam Adli Abd Halim, Muhammad Safwan Anang, Ekhsan Bukharee and Mohamed Bukhairy Mohamed Sofian who were appealing against being charged with taking part in an illegal in a restricted public place.

The foursome were charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) when they took part in a June 22, 2013 rally in the compound of Masjid Ar-Rahman Universiti Malaya, which is a restricted area.

Section 4(2)(b) of the PAA prohibits the public from organising or participating in an assembly held at any prohibited place and within 50m from the place’s limit.

If found guilty, they can be fined up to RM 10,000 each.

According to the activists’ lawyer, Eric Paulsen, the court rejected the challenge on a preliminary objection based on Section 30 of the Courts of Judicature Act (CJA) 1964, which is a procedural requirement for their application to be first filed at the Sessions Court instead of the High Court.

“We are to file at Sessions Court to refer to the High Court,” Paulsen told Malay Mail Online when contacted. Read more

Appellate court frees former student activist Safwan Anang from sedition charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang (centre) is all smiles after the Appeals Court acquitted him of sedition, over a speech he made three years ago. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy for MMO.

Former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang (centre) is all smiles after the Appeals Court acquitted him of sedition, over a speech he made three years ago. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy for MMO.

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 20 — The Court of Appeal today acquitted and discharged student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang from a sedition charge brought against him by the government, over a speech he made three years ago.

A three-men panel today said that they also found no seditious elements based on the grounds of judgement from the Session Court which had handed Safwan a 10-month jail term and fine of RM5,000.

The panel comprised of judges Datuk Wira Mohtarudin Baki, Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham also unanimously agreed that the prosecution had also failed to prove a prima facie case against Safwan. Read more

Appellate court adjourns to consider Safwan’s sedition case

Source: Malaysiakini

Student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang is appealing against his conviction and sentence on a charge of making seditious speech at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur on May 13, 2013. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang is appealing against his conviction and sentence on a charge of making seditious speech at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur on May 13, 2013. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

The Court of Appeal postponed its decision on former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang’s sedition case sine die today to consider submissions from both parties.

“This case is quite technical, so we need time to consider it,” said Justice Mohtaruddin Baki who headed the three-member bench.

The other judges presiding on the hearing are Zakaria Sam and Prasad Sandosham Abraham.

Safwan is appealing against the decision of the High Court in Kuala Lumpur in December last year to uphold his conviction under the Sedition Act 1948.

Meanwhile, the prosecution is appealing against the High Court’s decision to impose a lighter sentence of a RM5,000 fine, and urged the Court of Appeal to reinstate the prison sentence first imposed by the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.

This would be Safwan and the prosecution’s final appeal in this case.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Safwan’s lead counsel Ariff Azami Hussein said the postponement was a good sign. Read more

Safwan Anang’s conviction: Democratic space continues to shrink — ChallengerTV Malaysia

Source: Malay Mail Online

BY ADRIAN LIM CHEE EN

Sedition Act 1948

Sedition Act 1948

Safwan Anang’s conviction under the Sedition Act 1948 today shows how democratic space continue to shrink. It is yet another shameful attempt to revive a relic of the colonial past.

What was Safwan Anang’s crime? He spoke about electoral fraud in the 2013 General Elections, ranging from late arrival of postal boxes to misuse of governmental resources, indelible ink and so on. To date, nothing has happened to the EC, whereas Safwan has exhausted both appeals.

He was first sentenced to 10 months imprisonment by the Sessions Court in September 2014. He appealed the sentence, and the High Court reduced his sentence to a RM5,000 fine in December 2015. In less than 24 hours, the prosecution appealed the High Court’s decision, paving way for a showdown at the Court of Appeal.

In 2014, hundreds of others were arrested, detained, investigated or charged under the Sedition Act in what was dubbed a “Sedition dragnet”, a move human rights activists condemn as a shameful act to silence critics and revive a culture of fear.

What were the other hundreds’ crime? They drew cartoons, criticised corruption and leakages, gave a legal opinion in line with his expertise etc.

Human rights organisations, civil society activists, academics, legal experts and the international community continue to condemn the atrocity. Read more