Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nik Nazmi charged over Kelana Jaya rally, risks disqualification as lawmaker

Nik Nazmi (centre) speaks to the press after he was charged in court today.

PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad was today charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 with failing to give the police 10 days’ notice for the post-election rally at the Kelana Jaya stadium on May 8.

The PKR communications director pleaded not guilty when the charge under section 9 (1) of the Act was read out to him in the Sessions Court here.

If convicted under section 9(5) of the same Act, Nik Nazmi could be fined up to RM10,000, which could see the Seri Setia state assemblyman losing his seat.

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But his lawyer Eric Paulsen told Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob that he would be filing an application in the High Court to strike out the case.

Paulsen said he would seek a declaration from the High Court that section 9 of the Act is unconstitutional.

He would also be arguing in the High Court that the charge against Nik Nazmi is an “abuse of court process” and amounts to selective prosecution that is politically-motivated and done in bad faith.

“This attempt to stifle the opposition is clear,” Paulsen told reporters outside the courtroom.

The court fixed June 4 for case management.

On May 8, thousands of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters packed the Kelana Jaya stadium to rally for free and fair elections, just days after the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition retained power by winning 133 federal seats against PR’s 89 seats.

Nik Nazmi was investigated by the police on May 10 for his role in the rally.

PKR had last week urged the Inspector-General of Police and the BN government to drop the probe of 28 out of 33 speakers at the Kelana Jaya rally, following the police’s statement that their speeches could have contravened the Sedition Act 1948.

The opposition PR pact has said that it will continue to hold the rallies termed as “Black 505”, with one to be held tonight in Negri Sembilan and three rallies in different states next week — Kedah, Terengganu and Malacca.

Rallies have already been held in Penang, Johor, Perak and Pahang.
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