Activist Haris Ibrahim freed of sedition charge

Activist Haris Ibrahim.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal here today acquitted activist Haris Ibrahim of a sedition charge over alleged remarks made at a public forum on the 13th general election in Kuala Lumpur on May 13, 2013.

Haris’ lawyer, Haijan Omar, said the court had accepted submissions by the defence that there was misdirection in the lower court’s findings.

“The deputy public prosecutors have accepted our representation on three main points, mainly on misdirection committed by the Sessions Court in reaching its findings to convict my client.

“The court allowed the appeal based on the submissions made by the defence, taking cognisance of the prosecution’s lack of objections to the representation made by us earlier,” Haijan said when contacted.

A three-member bench led by appellate judge Kamardin Hassan made the ruling today. Umar Saifuddin Jaafar prosecuted while the defence team was led by Malik Imtiaz Sawar, Haijan and Ravin Jay.

Haris was convicted by the Sessions Court in 2016 under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act and slapped with an eight-month jail sentence. The jail term was later replaced with a RM4,000 fine.

Haris and four other forum speakers – activists Adam Adli, Safwan Anang and Hishamuddin Rais, and then-Batu MP Tian Chua – claimed trial to the sedition charges.

The statements were made a week after the 13th general election, amid claims that Barisan Nasional had won the polls through unfair means.

Safwan and Adam were freed of their charges at the Court of Appeal in 2016 and last year respectively.

However, Tian Chua was given a three-month jail sentence and fined RM1,800 in 2016 while Hishamuddin was fined RM5,000 by the Court of Appeal.