Apex court throws out Jawi’s bid to appeal against Kassim Ahmad’s court victory

Source: The Malay Mail Online

In March 2015, Muslim intellectual Kassim Ahmad (pic) was charged at the Syariah High Court in Putrajaya with insulting Islam and defying religious authorities at a seminar in February.― Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the Malay Mail Online.

In March 2015, Muslim intellectual Kassim Ahmad (pic) was charged at the Syariah High Court in Putrajaya with insulting Islam and defying religious authorities at a seminar in February.― Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the Malay Mail Online.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — The Federal Court dismissed today a leave application by Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) and two others to reverse a Court of Appeal’s ruling favouring Muslim academic Kassim Ahmad.

The apex court panel lead by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum unanimously decided today to refuse granting permission to hear the merits of the appeal, after the previous appellate court declaration that Kassim’s arrest by Jawi was unlawful.

Malaysiakini reported that the panel, which also included Federal Court judges Tan Sri Zainun Ali and Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, dismissed the appellants’ arguments regarding the jurisdiction of Civil Court in Shariah cases, and procedures of arrest and investigation.

The panel reportedly said the questions had been answered twice — when the Court of Appeal granted leave in Kassim’s appeal against High Court dismissing his leave application, and again when the same court heard his appeal and ruled in favour of him. Read more

Lawyers: Ex-journo can sue cops over illegal arrest, trespass in pre-dawn raid

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan ― MMO File pic

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan ― MMO File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 ― Former journalist Sidek Kamiso can sue the police for unlawfully arresting him and trespassing into his house in the wee hours of the morning over an alleged Twitter insult, lawyers have said.

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan said Sidek could file a civil lawsuit against the police for breaching his constitutional rights by arresting him without a warrant for an alleged breach of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

“When we talk about unlawful arrest, it means your personal liberty has been violated, your freedom has been denied ― that’s the consequence of unlawful arrest,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.

He pointed out that Section 258 of the CMA says that a police officer may arrest with a warrant for offences under the same law, further highlighting that it appears that no investigation has been conducted by internet regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), first before the police arrest as required.

Syahredzan was hesitant to describe the arrest as amounting to an abuse of power that can be challenged through a misfeasance lawsuit, but said the police’s actions in Sidek’s case fall outside of their powers under the CMA.

“If they can show there is an abuse of power, if there’s proof of that, maybe misfeasance of power but of course it would be difficult to prove. When you talk about abuse, you have to show deliberate intent, it must not be like a honest mistake,” he said.

Even with the police’s general powers to make arrests without warrants, they can only do so for offences that are listed as seizable offences in the Criminal Procedure Code, namely those where the maximum jail sentence is three years and above.

But for offences like the commonly-used Section 233 of the CMA with a maximum jail term of one year, the police need a warrant when making arrests, he said. Read more