JAIS officer admits warrant didn’t say could seize books

ZI Publications Sdn Bhd director Ezra Zaid is seen at the Federal Court, Putrajaya in this file picture taken on September 28, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
ZI Publications Sdn Bhd director Ezra Zaid is seen at the Federal Court, Putrajaya in this file picture taken on September 28, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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PETALING JAYA, April 18 — The search warrant obtained by Selangor religious enforcers to raid ZI Publication Sdn Bhd over a book titled Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta did not expressly permit them to seize copies of Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta, a Shariah court was told today.

Testifying in the trial of publisher Ezra Zaid at the Petaling district Shariah Court, Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) research officer Kamal Ariffin said so in response to Ezra’s lawyer, Zulkifli Che Yong.

“Yes there is no specific clause in the warrant to seize items or evidence,” he said.

“But to my understanding the warrant not only meant the arrest of the suspect but also to seize any materials related to the offense,” he told the court.

During the 2012 raid, JAIS officers carted off 180 copies of the Malay language translation of Irshad Manji’s Allah, Liberty and Love for alleged violation of Islamic laws.

Shariah judge Shukran Yusof then adjourned the trial and set June 28 as the next date of hearing.

On March 7, 2013, Ezra was charged as ZI Publications’ director under Section 16(1)(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 with two alternative counts of publishing and distributing the Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta book, as well as a third alternative count under Section 16(1)(b) for possession of 180 copies of the book.

Anyone convicted under Section 16(1) — which makes it an offence to print, publish, disseminate, or possessing for sale or for dissemination books “contrary to Islamic law” — is liable to a maximum RM3,000 fine or maximum two-year jail or both.

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