SHAH ALAM (Aug 19): Selangor Deputy Speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad today filed an application to strike out his criminal charge under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for organising the Black 505 Rally.

The application was filed through his lawyers Eric Paulsen and Syahredzan Johan at the High Court here this morning.

The lawyers said the charge against their client was politically motivated and an example of selective prosecution, pointing out that the new act had been used to persecute opposition members and NGOs.

“There were many instances of pro-Umno rallies held that did not adhere to the act, yet no action was taken,” Paulsen told reporters later.

He cited the infamous butt exercise by a group of army veterans in front of Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house and the rally held by Perkasa and Jati protesting against the Vatican diplomat’s statement on the Allah issue.

Nik Nazmi was charged under the act in May for alleged failure to inform the district police – within the 10-day stipulated time – regarding the location of the Opposition rally at Kelana Jaya stadium three months ago.

The rally was organised to protest the alleged electoral fraud that occurred during the 13th General Election.

The PKR communications director was accused of committing the offence at Stadium Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) Kelana Jaya near here at 8.30pm on May 8.

If convicted the Seri Setia assemblyman could be fined up to RM10,000 and risk being disqualified from his state assembly seat.

Paulsen went on to state that the act was turning the constitutional right of Malaysians to gather into an offence.

“The way it is being enforced right now, it has to be struck out,” he said.

Syahredzan meanwhile said the 10-day notification was unreasonable and restrictive.

He also argued that some rallies needed to be held as soon as possible to address current happenings, like the situation in Egypt.

By the time the rally is held following the 10-day notification, the issue would be stale, he said.

“Authorities should go after those who misuse the act or if there are criminal elements,” he added.

by Sean Augustin,