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'Court's decision to jail, not fine Haris alarming'

Published:  |  Modified:

The court's decision to sentence activist Haris Ibrahim to eight months in jail for sedition instead of opting for a fine is "alarming", said NGO Negara-Ku.

This is because he was charged before amendments were made to the Sedition Act taking away the option of a fine.

"Negara-Ku is seriously alarmed by this development and is in the opinion that the Sedition Act should be abolished and all previous convictions should be overturned...

"The fact that he was found guilty and sentenced to eight months of imprisonment despite the court having the option of imposing a lighter sentence is alarming, and does not bode well for those who were charged or will be charged under the amended Act," Negara-Ku chairperson Zaid Kamaruddin said.

He said instead of repealing the Sedition Act as promised in 2012, the government has instead amended it to put more in heavier jeopardy of conviction by lowering the burden of proof and imposing mandatory jailing.

He also called on the government to repeal the Sedition Act and for the Attorney-General's Chambers to drop all sedition charges pending the repeal.

All convictions should also be overturned, he said.

Haris to appeal

Haris was on Thursday convicted of making a seditious speech at a gathering at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in 2013.

He was charged along with former PAS man Tamrin Ghafar, PKR's Batu MP Tian Chua and activists Adam Adli Abdul Halim and Safwan Anang.

Their respective trials are being conducted separately.

In a blog post yesterday, Haris said he would not flee the country to escape a jail sentence.

He is appealing the conviction.

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