Press Statement

Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern Attorney General Gani Patail’s speech at the recent ILKAP National Law Conference where he once again sought to defend his decision not to prosecute Ibrahim Ali who had called for the burning of the Al Kitab/ Bibles.

It was quite astonishing how the AG bent over backwards and sought to explain every ambiguity in Ibrahim Ali’s speech in his favour, that by reading the full context and background of the speech, he did not have the requisite intention and therefore the speech was “safe” and “non-seditious in nature.”

This begs the question as to why similar treatment was not given to the numerous other persons who were charged for sedition for anything that was remotely controversial – most of which were based on police reports made by Umno members or pro-Umno right wing groups.

What about the “full context” when he charged MP Khalid Samad for his opinion on the powers of MAIS, lawyer and MP N Surendran for his statement defending his client Anwar Ibrahim in the Sodomy II case, Professor Azmi Sharom for his legal opinion, or MP Teresa Kok for her parody video? Are we seriously to believe that their statements were more offensive and seditious than Ibrahim Ali’s?

The AG’s action in giving preferential treatment and not prosecuting Ibrahim Ali while being trigger happy with the opposition and dissidents reeks of double standards and selective prosecution

It cannot be over emphasised that the AG represents the State, the community at large and the interest of justice, and not just the Government of the Day. Needless to say, such blatant double standards merely reinforce public perception that the AG is not independent and acts at the behest of the Government to prosecute the opposition and dissidents for political offences.

We therefore call upon the AG to keep to his promise by immediately reviewing all pending sedition cases by using the same considerations he had given to Ibrahim Ali but not for the others.

Released by:

Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

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