Lawyers for Liberty is appalled at the conviction and two-year jail sentence of 13 pro-democracy protestors at the Kuala Kangsar Sessions Court yesterday for protesting against the swearing in of Zambry Abdul Kadir as Menteri Besar of Perak and the formation of a new “illegitimate” Perak government four years ago.
To compound matters, judge Norsalha Hamzah also refused to allow a stay of the sentence pending appeal as is the norm.
The court’s decision citing ‘public interest’ to convict, sentence and disallow stay pending appeal for what are essentially politically motivated charges is a clear signal that the authorities will misuse the full force of the law to muzzle and punish dissidents for political views that contravene that of Barisan Nasional.
The judge’s shocking and unconscionable decision in not allowing stay did not take into account the basic legal principle that the appeal would be made nugatory if the stay was refused and the successful appellants would not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
We call upon the courts to uphold our constitutional rights including freedom of speech, assembly and association and not make a mockery of the term ‘public interest’ by equating that with the interest of Barisan Nasional.
Co-founder & Adviser
Lawyers for Liberty
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