Lawyers for Liberty views with great concern the 3 month jail sentence imposed yesterday by High Court judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof on blogger Amizudin Ahmat for breaching a court order when he published 11 articles on the alleged rape of an Indonesian domestic worker by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim.
While we understand the court’s integrity and decisions need to be respected, the court in exercising its discretionary power to cite the blogger for contempt of court has failed to look into the wider circumstances and context the articles were published. The blogger had continued to publish the articles in order to expose the grave injustice and crime that had allegedly been perpetrated, that remained not properly investigated despite being widely reported in the region. Further, the blogger has since deleted all the articles and apologised to the court.
Lawyers for Liberty calls on the court to guard its dignity by its moral strength, and not by its powers of contempt which should only be exercised sparingly and in exceptional circumstances. In this case, the court has failed to temper justice with mercy and has acted in a harsh and disproportionate manner – a decision that unfortunately can only reinforce public perception that “justice” is only for the rich, powerful and well connected.
Released by Lawyers For Liberty
11 August 2012