KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — British writer Clare Rewcastle-Brown has reportedly claimed that her two-year prison sentence for defaming the Sultanah of Terengganu, Sultanah Nur Zahirah, was “politically motivated”.
Speaking to British broadcaster BBC, she claimed her case had been “manipulated”, but she insisted that the Sultanah was not to be blamed for it.
“I do fear that there has been manipulation of this case and I do not seek to lay blame for that at the feet of the Sultanah. She was understandably annoyed,” she reportedly said.
BBC said it had requested comments from Sultanah Nur Zahirah and her legal team, but did not publish any response.
Rewcastle-Brown also claimed it was “no coincidence” that her sentence came after convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sentence was cut short by the Pardons Board.
“I’m afraid this is malicious, it is politically motivated. And I see it as revenge for my public interest journalism.
“I think there are a lot of very powerful and wealthy people in Malaysia who are revengeful that I identified the corruption of their former prime minister, who remains popular and powerful and wealthy,” she reportedly said, referring to Najib.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah had filed a lawsuit on November 21, 2018 against Rewcastle-Brown over the book’s claims and demanded damages of RM100 million.
She claimed that the defamatory remarks suggested that she was involved in corrupt practices and had meddled in the Terengganu state government’s affairs.
The Sultanah also said the claim that she had used her status to influence the establishment of the Terengganu Investment Board (TIA), which was later known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was untrue.
Sultanah Nur Zahirah further denied, as detailed in the book, that she had helped fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, otherwise known as Jho Low, to become the TIA’s advisor.
Rewcastle-Brown was previously the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the court for her failure to show up for a charge in relation to the case.
According to Section 425A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the case’s trial was held in absentia.
Rewcastle-Brown was prosecuted under Section 500 of the Penal Code for publishing remarks that were deemed defamatory in The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé.