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‘Court should not use powers of contempt to jail blogger’

 | August 11, 2012

Lawyers for Liberty criticised a High Court judgment that sentenced a blogger to three months imprisonment for contempt of court.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers group, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said  the decision to imprison the blogger reinforces the public perception that justice is only meant for the rich, powerful and well connected.

“In this case, the court has failed to temper justice with mercy and has acted in a harsh and disproportionate manner – a decision that unfortunately can only reinforce  public perception that “justice” is only for the rich, powerful and well connected,” said LFL .

It also wants the High Court to reconsider the circumstances that led to blogger Amizuddin Mamat acting in contempt of court that resulted in the latter being imprisoned.

“The court in exercising its discretionary power to cite the blogger for contempt of court has failed to look into the wider circumstances and context the articles were published,” said the group in a press statement.

Yesterday High Court judge, Zabariah Mohd Yusof sentenced blogger Amizuddin Mamat to three months imprisonment after finding him guilty of contempt of court.

The judge had previously prohibited Amizuddin from publishing articles defaming Information Communication and Culture Minister, Rais Yatim on the alleged rape of an Indonesian domestic worker by Rais.

Amizuddin defied the prohibition by publishing 11 articles about Rais.

In mitigation LFL also put forth its points in defence of Amizuddin.

“The blogger had continued to publish the articles in order to expose the grave injustice and crime that had allegedly been perpetrated, that remained not properly investigated despite being widely reported in the region.

“Further, the blogger has since deleted all the articles and apologised to the court,” said the NGO.

Hence, it has called upon the courts to guard its dignity by its moral strength instead of powers of contempt.

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