Sex bloggers win bail but spend another night in jail

Prompt action: Tan’s mother and a relative preparing to bail Tan out at the Duta Court complex in Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR - After spending a week in prison, sex bloggers Alvin Tan Jye Yee and Vivian Lee May Ling were finally granted bail. But they will have to spend yet another night behind bars and are likely to be allowed out today after they sign their bail bond.

The High Court here granted the two bail of RM30,000 (S$11,816.10) in two sureties each yesterday.

Justice Mohd Azman Husin allowed bail of RM10,000 (S$3,938.70) for each of the three charges against them which are related to their Facebook posting of them eating a pork dish while wishing Muslims Selamat Berbuka Puasa and uploading pornographic images on their blog.

He ordered them to surrender their passports and prohibited them from uploading pornographic and provocative images, and using seditious words in the Internet that could touch religious and racial sensitivities.

Tan and Lee were also forbidden from using network communication devices, including smartphones and iPads, and were ordered to report to the nearest police station on the first day of each month.

He made the order after considering the judicial review application against the ruling of Sessions Court judge Murtazadi Amran under Section 323(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 35 of the Courts of Judicature Act last Thursday.

In court were deputy public prosecutors Noorin Badaruddin, Nadia Mohd Izhar and Mohd Ishak Yusof while counsel Chong Joo Tian, Wong Kee Them and Adila Kamaruzaman represented Tan and Lee.

Tan's mother was also present.

Earlier, Chong submitted that there was no case of tampering with witnesses and no danger of them absconding for bail to be denied.

On the assertion that his clients tended to repeat the same act, he said: "There is no material produced in court to show such tendency."

Chong said Tan and Lee had tendered a public apology via The Star Online on July 14, two days after the buka puasa posting, and were unlikely to repeat the offence.

"The denial of bail has already punished my clients even before the trial starts," he said.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ishak said Tan and Lee had apologised through their Facebook on July 12, but came up with another posting the following day, which read: "You may shut us down now but we'll be back. And we will be stronger and better than ever, NANTIKANLAH. Enjoy your Ramadan for now, friends."

He said this showed that they had no remorse and had the tendency to commit the same act.

Tan, 25, and Lee, 24, were jointly charged under sub-section 5(1) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 (Act 620), Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act and Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code.

They were accused of displaying pornographic images on their blog at Kompleks Mutiara in Jalan Ipoh here between July 6 and 7 from 9pm to 2am.

They were also charged with uploading content that could stir up hostility based on religion among people of different beliefs at a restaurant in Jalan Dang Wangi here from July 11 and12 at about 10.48pm.

The third charge against then was for pulishing a seditious photograph and comments.

Court complex officer-in-charge Supt R. Munusamy confirmed that Tan's and Lee's families had posted bail and the two would likely be released today.