KUALA LUMPUR: Cartoonist Zunar has claimed trial to nine charges of sedition for allegedly insulting the judiciary in tweets made regarding Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction in the Sodomy 2 case.
Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, 53, better known as Zunar, was charged before the Sessions Court with publishing seditious tweets through the account @zunarkartunis at 3pm on Feb 10.
Feb 10 was the day the Federal Court upheld Anwar’s conviction for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari, in 2008.
The tweets contained commentary of the proceedings on the day, and mentioned the Chief Justice and Palace of Justice.
The charges were broken up into three sets of three charges each, to reflect that the tweets were treated as separate transactions.
As such, Zulkiflee could be jailed consecutively for each of the three “transactions”, if found guilty.
The charges under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act are punishable by up to three years prison and a fine of up to RM5,000.
DPP Mohd Nordin Ismail urged the cases to be heard together, as many of the case facts were similar.
Mohd Nordin asked that bail be set at RM5,000 for each charge.
Zulkiflee’s lawyer Datuk S. Ambiga asked for a lower bail, saying that even the maximum fine for the offence was RM5,000 and that her client had so far cooperated with police during investigations.
Co-counsel Latheefa Koya applied to have the three cases to be heard separately, saying it would be prejudicial to have all heard before the same charge.
“In determining if the statements are seditious in nature, it needs to be seen in the context of understanding, the separate statements should not be judged as a whole,” she said.
Judge Zanol Radhid Hussain allowed the prosecution’s application to have cases heard together.
He fixed bail at RM2,500 for each charge. This means Zulkiflee’s bail for all charges would be RM22,500, with one surety.
The court set May 20 for next mention.
-Qishin Tariq, The Star