University law lecturer denies committing sedition

University law lecturer denies committing sedition
Prof Dr Azmi (center) with his lawyer, Mr Gobind (right) and Mr Richard Wee (left).

KUALA LUMPUR - Universiti Malaya law lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here over a charge of making alleged seditious comments on an online portal concerning the 2009 Perak crisis.

Azmi, 45, one of The Star columnists featured in the newspaper's Brave Views, Bold Ideas campaign on moderation, claimed trial before Sessions Court judge Zainol Rashid Hussain after being accused under Section 4(1)(b) and Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948.

An online English portal had published Azmi's article titled, "Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Perak told" on Aug 14.

The law lecturer is accused of uttering seditious words when he went to give a statement at the Kuala Lumpur police crime investigation department at about 12.30pm on Aug 15.

He faced an alternative charge of publishing the words at the same time and place.

If convicted, under either the first charge or alternative charge, Azmi is liable to be fined up to a maximum of RM5,000 (S$1,973), a jail term of not more than three years, or both.

Deputy public prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim applied for another mention date for handing over of documents. Suhaimi also proposed RM5,000 bail in one surety.

Azmi's counsel Gobind Singh Deo said he had no objection on the bail proposed.

The court set bail at RM5,000 and fixed the next mention on Oct 3. Azmi posted bail.

The courtroom was filled with his supporters, including PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and human rights activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

Marina is a fellow columinists in The Star.

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