28

Jan

ZUNAR’S TRIAL POSTPONED TO MARCH 9, 2016

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Zunar’s trial on his nine-sedition charges has again been postponed to March 9 by the Sessions Court yesterday.
The postponement was due to the pending decision by the High Court on the constitutionality of the Sedition Act by lawyer N. Surendran who filed an application on October 15, 2014.

Surendran had referred two questions on the colonial era act to the court as it was not passed in Parliament and had been in place before independence and that it restricts a person’s right. The constitutionality of the act, which was challenged by Universiti Malaya law professor Dr Azmi Sharom as well, is also pending an appeal on the absence of intention which deems it unconstitutional to charge a person under the law.

This is the fourth time since the trial had been postponed from last year’s May 20, July 7, September 9 and January 27, 2016.

On his Twitter account on February 10, 2015, Zunar had posted his cartoons as a reaction to then Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s five-year imprisonment sentence against his sodomy charges. “The lackeys in black robes are proud of their sentence. The rewards from the political masters must be plenty,” one of the tweets read accompanying the image. “Today Malaysia is seen as a country without law,” another read.

If found guilty, Zunar faces 43-years of life in prison under Section 4 (1)(C) of the Sedition Act for voicing out his opinions.

The act is considered draconian and colonial by Malaysian activists, human rights group and the Opposition, with many pointing out that the Sedition Act stifles with people’s freedom of expression with some claiming abuse.
This is the second incident for Zunar to be charged under the act following his initial charge for highlighting several issues deemed detrimental in his September 2010 published book “”Cartoon-O-Phobia”.

The book addressed and highlighted many issues plaguing Prime Minister Najib Razak with some of them being on the Altantuya murder, the conspiracy against Anwar, the prime minister’s wife Rosmah, the loss of fighter jet engines, the dysfunctional Scorpene submarine, issues in Sarawak, racism, corruption, waste of public funds, among others.

He had also seen his books banned by the Home Ministry in recent years too.
Regardless, Zunar woes to continue drawing cartoons until the last drop of ink in his pen.

By Sukhbir Cheema

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