‘Arrogant’ JAWI again renews pursuit of Borders manager

JAWI's actions showed 'arrogance' in deliberately wanting to intimidate Nik Raina (centre) by serving the notice directly to the bookstore manager, her lawyer said. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
JAWI's actions showed 'arrogance' in deliberately wanting to intimidate Nik Raina (centre) by serving the notice directly to the bookstore manager, her lawyer said. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI) has appealed against the Federal Territory Shariah High Court’s February 26 decision to discharge Borders bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz for selling a book deemed un-Islamic.

Aside from the continuing its years-long prosecution of her, Chief Sharie Prosecutor (KPS) Mohamad Adib Husain also took the unusual step of serving the notice of the appeal directly to Nik Raina at her place of work in the Mid Valley shopping mall.

"Last  Friday, I received notice that the Ketua Pendakwa Syarie (KPS) has appealed to the Shariah Appeal Court against the order of discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) granted by the Shariah High Court.

"The KPS served the notice of appeal at Borders Gardens ignoring the fact that my firm LHAG (Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill) are solicitors on record. The KPS breached the rule that they should not communicate with my clients directly," Nik Raina’s lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

According to the lawyer, JAWI's actions showed "arrogance" in deliberately wanting to intimidate Nik Raina by serving the notice directly to the bookstore manager instead of the lawyers representing her in the case.

Rosli added that the latest appeal puts Mohamad Adib and JAWI’s director-general in contempt of both the civil High Court and Court of Appeal’s orders directing that the prosecution against Nik Raina be discontinued due to illegality.

"This appeal is a positive act and not just a passive omission by the KPS, which is in direct breach of the two orders of the superior courts," Rosli explained.

"This will be a first in Malaysia if we take steps to cite the KPS/JAWI for contempt of a civil court order.”

Rosli also clarified that he was not in any way implicating the Shariah courts for the latest development, pointing out that the Shariah High Court clearly agreed with the civil courts’ orders when it gave Nik Raina a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

Nik Raina was charged for being a Muslim manager at a bookstore that carried the book, “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta”, which was translated from the English Version written by Canadian author Irshad Manji.

JAWI raided the Borders outlet in Mid Valley where she is a manager on May 23, 2012, even before the book was banned by the Home Ministry, and arrested her a week later.

On June 19 2012, she was charged under Section 13 (1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) Act for allegedly selling and distributing a book that is contrary to the Islamic laws.

If convicted, she may be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.

On March 22, 2013, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that JAWI had acted illegally in raiding Borders, seizing the books and charging Nik Raina. It was then ordered to withdraw its charges against her in the Syariah court.

On December 30, 2014 the Court of Appeal also ruled in favour of Nik Raina, and said the prosecution against her was “unreasonable, irrational” and done in bad faith, and that it was against the “principle of fairness and justice” for JAWI to prosecute Nik Raina for an offence in the Shariah court simply because she was a Muslim and because it could not charge the company and her non-Muslim supervisor.

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