Press Statement

Lawyers for Liberty condemns the burdensome, unlawful and arbitrary charge of blogger Milosuam (Yusuf al Siddique) under section 505 of the Penal Code at the Magistrate’s Court in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

This section criminalizes the act of ‘publishing or circulating statements, rumours or reports’ that are ‘conducing to public mischief’.

According to Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a person must be charged at the location where the offence allegedly occurred. Milosuam was arrested in Kuala Lumpur this May and the alleged offending statement took place within cyberspace. Moreover, Milosuam had not set foot in Sabah at the material time the alleged statement was made.

LFL condemns the act of charging Milosuam in Kota Kinabalu as not only is this extremely burdensome for him as he is based in KL/Selangor but this unlawful act also deprives Milosuam of legal representation of his choice.

Lawyers for Liberty has been representing Milosuam for all matters since his arrest in early May and we now cannot do so because lawyers from the Peninsular are unable to appear before the courts in Sabah. This situation placed our client in a precarious position, forcing him to find new lawyers in Sabah.

To add insult to injury, the bail amount was set at an outrageous amount of RM15,000.00 by Magistrate Edward Paul. This amount is disproportionate and far greater than the penalty Milosuam would have to pay in the event the court found him guilty.

It is trite law that even a law student would understand that the bail amount is not to punish but to secure attendance. However in this case, it seemed to take on a punitive nature.

And to make matter worse, the Magistrate has also required that he surrender his passport – an unusual condition for a minor offence and compounded by the fact that he is a Malaysian. He has remained in the lockup in Kota Kinabalu since Tuesday and was only released yesterday evening.

We urge the Chief Justice and the AG to immediately intervene and correct this unlawful, burdensome and arbitrary series of acts and to try Milosuam in KL/Selangor.

Issued by,
Eric Paulsen
Co founder & Adviser