Ezra Zaid, Jais and five others agree on assessment of damages for wrongful prosecution, says lawyer

Ezra Zaid is pictured at the Petaling Shariah Subordinate Court in Shah Alam December 17, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Ezra Zaid is pictured at the Petaling Shariah Subordinate Court in Shah Alam December 17, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR,  Jan 13 — ZI Publications Sdn Bhd director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS), as well as five others, have reached an agreement on the assessment of damages for him for wrongful prosecution by the Selangor Chief Syarie Prosecutor in 2013.

His lawyer, Fahri Azzat, told this to reporters when contacted after the online proceedings (Zoom) before High Court Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid today.

All parties agreed to settle the claim (assessment), but the terms of the settlement contained in the consent judgment could not be disclosed, he added.

 On May 29, 2012, Jais raided the business premises of ZI Publications and confiscated 180 books entitled Allah, Freedom and Love written by a Canadian writer, Irshad Manji. Mohd Ezra was also arrested.

ZI Publications and Mohd Ezra then filed a judicial review application to challenge the raid carried out by Jais.

On March 7, 2018 the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed their application and they later brought the matter to the Court of Appeal.

On September 25, 2019, Mohd Ezra succeeded in his bid at the Court of Appeal to prevent the Selangor Shariah prosecution from proceeding with its case against him for the publication, distribution and possession of Irshad Manji’s book, which was deemed to be against Islamic law. 

On September 29, the Federal Court dismissed a leave application to appeal by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and four others against the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

In allowing his appeal, the court granted him a certiorari order quashing his arrest and prosecution by the Selangor Shariah prosecution chief, besides costs and damages for mental distress, agony and torture as a result of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Jais)’s wrongful action against him. 

The court also ordered the matter to be remitted to the High Court assessment of damages.

On December 17, 2020, the Syariah Court discharged and acquitted Mohd Ezra  on charges related to publishing a book which was deemed to be against Islamic law.

He was charged in the Lower Syariah Court in 2013 in relation to the publication of the Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book of the same title. — Bernama

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