After Azmi Sharom, civil society group wants A-G to drop all sedition charges

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 12): Following the attorney-general’s decision to withdraw the sedition charge against Universiti Malaya law lecturer, Associate Professor Azmi Sharom, Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan (GHAH) has called for all sedition charges to be reviewed and dropped.

Its coordinator, Amir Abd Hadi, said it was unfair if other sedition charges were to be continued as they were done unjustly and went against the freedom of expression as enshrined in the Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“The attorney-general should not use the withdrawal of this sedition charge as publicity to cover his controversy with MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) in relation to the prime minister’s donation case.

“He has to show to the public that he is really sincere in his efforts to reform the legal system in Malaysia,” Amir said in a statement today.

Amir said this was due to the amendment of the Sedition Act in April 2015 that removed paragraph 3 (1) (c) — which stated that criticism against the government was no longer considered as an offence under the Sedition Act.

“The majority of previous sedition cases are in relation to criticism against the government. The A-G should also consider dropping the cases,” he said, adding that the Sedition Act was no longer relevant.

Earlier today, the A-G’s Chambers issued a three-paragraph statement saying that Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has decided to drop the charge against Azmi.

Apandi said the decision was made after reviewing evidence from all prosecution witnesses who testified in court.

On Sept 2, 2014, Azmi was charged under Section 4(1) (b) and Section 4 (1) (c) of the Sedition Act over his comments in an article titled “Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told” published in a news portal.