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Safwan Anang freed of sedition charge

 | December 20, 2016

He should have been acquitted without defence being called during trial as the prosecution failed to prove their case, says Court of Appeal.

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Safwan-Anang_law_600PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today acquitted former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang of a sedition charge where he had allegedly urged the public to topple the government through street protests three years ago .

Justice Prasad Sandosham Abraham, who delivered the judgment, said the statement did not have a seditious tendency.

“Having perused through the statement ourselves, we are satisfied that it does not have a seditious tendency.

“It would follow, therefore, that the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case against the appellant (Safwan) in the Sessions Court and therefore he should have been acquitted,” he said.

Prasad said the court must scrutinise and independently evaluate the statement to see whether the language used came within the bounds of sedition or free speech.

” Failure to do so by the court, in our view , is a serious misdirection in law which renders the conviction unsafe,” he said.

The judge said as such the conviction before the trial court and later in the High Court is therefore set aside.

He also dismissed the government’s cross appeal to enhance Safwan’s sentence.

Safwan was charged with making a seditious speech at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on May 13, 2013, for allegedly inciting the people to topple the government through street protests.

The speech was made a week after the 13th general election, amid nationwide protests that the Barisan Nasional won the election through unfair means.

In 2014, the Sessions Court sentenced him to 10 month’s jail and RM5,000 fine.

On appeal, the High Court only maintained the fine.

The Court of Appeal led by Justices Mohtaruddin Baki, Zakaria Sam and Prasad heard the appeal by Safwan and the government in July.

 


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