Court grants stay of jail sentence to Wan Ji pending appeal

Wan Ji Wan Hussin at the court today.

SHAH ALAM: The Shah Alam High Court today granted a stay of execution for the one-year jail term handed down on Wan Ji Wan Hussin, the Muslim preacher who was convicted of making seditious remarks against the Selangor sultan.

Wan Ji’s counsel, Radzlan Jalaluddin, urged judge Abdul Halim Aman to delay the sentence until the appeal process is complete.

On Tuesday, the same judge extended Wan Ji’s jail sentence from nine months to a year, saying the preacher’s statements were clearly an insult to Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

“Whatever he said, as stated in the charge, is clear. It is an extreme act, and we must remember the principle of the Rukun Negara which is loyalty to king and country,” Halim had said.

Last year, the Sessions Court sentenced Wan Ji to nine months’ jail for his Facebook posts in 2012, questioning the status of the sultan as the head of Islam.

He was charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948.

In 2017, Wan Ji, once part of the Selangor PAS Ulama, was appointed as a spokesman on Islamic matters by then-Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

He also headed PKR Youth’s religious bureau.

In court today, he was slapped with a travel ban pending his appeal process.

Wan Ji informed the court that his passport had expired and that he had not gone abroad in the last seven years.

Wan Ji’s jailing this week was criticised by rights activists who said it showed the government’s lack of commitment to keep its word to abolish the Sedition Act.

On Tuesday evening, dozens of activists gathered outside the Kajang prison in solidarity with Wan Ji.