KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Bersih 2.0 condemned today the conviction of Amanah Youth vice-chief Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar as another step backwards for freedom of expression in the country.
In a statement by its steering committee, the electoral reform group said it deplored the conviction and that the sedition charge should not have been initiated in the first place.
“Fakhrulrazi’s conviction is another huge step backwards for freedom of expression in Malaysia.
“In the first place, the Attorney General should not have initiated the charged under the flawed Sedition Act.”
The group added that despite the 2015 amendment to the Sedition Act to repeal provisions to prosecute for criticisms towards the government and the administration, it was still the majority of sedition cases pursued since Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali took office.
“Besides Fakhrulrazi, eight other activists which includes Bersih 2.0 Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and Bersih 2.0 Manager Mandeep Singh were also charged for participating in the #KitaLawan rally last year,” the group said.
It added that it supports the Abolish The Sedition Act Movement’s (GHAH) calls for an immediate review and for the dropping of all existing sedition charges, as well as a moratorium on further charges pending a review of the Act.
Mohd Fakhrulrazi was sentenced to eight months’ jail by the Sessions Court here today for seditious remarks made at a #KitaLawan rally in February last year that called for the release of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from prison.
However, the court allowed a stay of the sentence pending an appeal at the High Court.