KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 ― Convicted of sedition, former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang got a lucky break today after the High Court amended his 10-month jail sentence to a RM5,000 fine instead.
Judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin said he took into consideration it was Muhammad Safwan’s first offence, his young age and the fact that he has a family with two young children.
“The 10-month jail sentence will be set aside and the sentence is amended to a fine of RM5,000 or two years in jail,” he said in pronouncing his decision and rejected the deputy public prosecutor's appeal for a stiffer penalty to be imposed.
The 26-year-old former Universiti Malaya student was found guilty under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 on September 5 last year by a Sessions Court, for a speech he made at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on last May 13 the same year.
The former chairman of student group, Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia was charged on May 29, 2013 with uttering seditious statements to incite the public to remove the government by extra-legal means.
Muhammad Safwan’s lawyer, Ariff Azami Hussein from ProGuam, a human rights lawyer group, said although they are grateful for today's decision, they will appeal to overturn the conviction at the Court of Appeal by next week.
“There is a danger if we don't appeal and if the prosecution appeal, most probably will end up in cross appeal in the Court of Appeal.
“The family will be paying the RM5,000 fine, so hopefully he can go back to his hometown in Terengganu,” he said.