Suaram questions Pakatan’s will after Fahmi ruling

Graphic designer Fahmi Reza is known for his cartoon caricature of Najib Razak. (Fahmi Reza Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A human rights group has questioned the Pakatan Harapan administration’s commitment to upholding freedom of expression after the Court of Appeal upheld a conviction of a graphic designer found guilty of uploading an offensive caricature of former prime minister Najib Razak.

Expressing its disappointment with the court’s decision, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said that despite the change in administration, there had been no move for the politically motivated prosecution against Fahmi Reza to be withdrawn.

Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said that the right to freedom of expression should only be limited in circumstances where it poses a threat to national security.

“It is absurd to argue that the political satire by Fahmi Reza can pose a threat to national security,” he said, adding that the initial charges made against Fahmi in 2016 was “a clear act intended to silence dissent”.

Although the prosecution was not begun by the Pakatan Harapan administration, they would be accountable for their failure to stand by and defend the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

“The Attorney-General Chambers and the Pakatan Harapan administration must answer for the continued failure to uphold freedom of expression as promised by the Pakatan Harapan manifesto,” he said in a statement.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal struck off Fahmi’s appeal for lacking merit.

Fahmi, 41, was charged with creating a communication that was offensive with an intention to annoy other people through his Facebook account on Feb 8, 2016.