Court frees activist Adam Adli from 2015 KitaLawan rally charge

Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim joined his first protest when he was 12 years old. — Picture by Choo Choy May.
Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim joined his first protest when he was 12 years old. — Picture by Choo Choy May.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — A magistrates’ court today acquitted activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim of an unlawful street protest charge stemming from a #KitaLawan rally in 2015.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya, who represented Adam Adli today, confirmed that magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abdul Wahid acquitted her client of the charge under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“He just read out, saying the prosecution had failed to prove prima facie case against the defence,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

As the acquittal came at the end of the prosecution's case, Adam Adli did not have to enter his defence.

“We just hope the prosecution won't appeal against this decision. They shouldn't waste their time on this kind of cases,” Latheefa added.

When contacted, Adam Adli said he was “very grateful” for the decision in his favour, saying it was a rare legal triump for him.

“This is apparently the first case I'm acquitted on the first trial without having to go to the Court of Appeal and other stages of the court,” he said, adding the result was a victory for the public’s right to assemble.

Adam was charged together with activist Mohd Fariz Abd Talib Musa on September 8, 2015 for being part of a street demonstration on February 28 of the same year between 4pm and 7.30pm, with the rally said to have started in front of the Sogo Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and ended at the Esplanade KLCC.

They were both charged under Section 4(2)(C) of the PAA 2012 over the offence of organising or participating in a “street protest,” which is punishable under Section 4(3) of the same Act with a maximum fine of RM10,000 upon conviction.

Mohd Fariz was on November 2 given a discharge not amounting to acquittal as he had diabetes and had one of his legs amputated.

The duo had along with other activists and MPs previously challenged the constitutionality of Section 4(1)(2) and 4(2)(c) for breaching the constitutional right to freedom of speech and assembly, but the Federal Court had on October 10 directed the seven to face trial first to allow the lower courts to determine if a street protest had taken place.

Today Latheefa noted that “it's been quite a long, arduous journey for Adam and the lawyers” as a constitutional challenge against his charge was referred to the Federal Court, before his case was sent back for trial.

On Adam Adli's constitutional challenge, Latheefa said: “The Federal Court case will not proceed because there's no prima facie case.”

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