Cartoonist, ex-MP freed of sedition charges

N Surendran and Zunar speak to the media after their acquittals.

KUALA LUMPUR: A political cartoonist and a former MP were today acquitted by the Sessions Court after the prosecution decided not to pursue their cases.

Lawyer N Surendran who appeared for Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, popularly known as Zunar, said Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas had approved a representation letter to drop the nine charges against him.

Surendran then asked for his client to be given a discharge amounting to an acquittal.

Deputy public prosecutor Noor Jazilah Mohd Yushaa confirmed that the AG had agreed to withdraw the case against Zunar.

Sessions judge Zamri Bakar, who accepted Surendran’s submission, then acquitted the cartoonist.

On April 3, 2015, Zunar pleaded not guilty to nine charges of sedition for allegedly insulting the judiciary in tweets made in relation to Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction in the Sodomy 2 case.

Surendran, who is former Padang Serai MP, later entered the dock himself as he too faced a sedition charge.

He claimed trial on Aug 19, 2014 to releasing an allegedly seditious press statement entitled “Court of Appeal’s Fitnah 2 written judgement is flawed, defensive and insupportable”.

His lawyer Latheefa Koya said the AG had also decided to withdraw the charge against her client. This was confirmed by deputy public prosecutor Norinna Bahadun.

Zamri allowed a discharge amounting to an acquittal, as submitted by Latheefa.

An elated Zunar said while he was happy that there were no more charges hanging over him, he wanted the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to remove the Sedition Act from the statute book.

“Unfortunately, I have not heard of a clear commitment from the present leadership,” he added.

Surendran meanwhile said the law should be abolished as any government could use it against critics to quell dissent.

“We must never allow PH or Barisan Nasional to tamper with our right to freedom of speech,” he said.

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