PUTRAJAYA — August 7, 2017: The syariah high court here today acquitted and discharged social and political activist Dr. Kassim Ahmad on charges of insulting Islam and defying Islamic religious authorities.
Judge Azzeman Omar made the decision after the prosecution withdrew the charges in compliance with the ruling of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court that the arrest and prosecution against Kassim were invalid.
The court also ordered bail of RM6,000 to be returned to the bailor.
According to Azzeman, the syariah prosecutor has jurisdiction to withdraw the charges as it was not the exclusive power of the chief syariah prosecutor (KPS).
“KPS can appoint a qualified person (syariah prosecutor) to act and exercise any rights,” he said, adding that he disagreed with the prosecution that they had to obtain written consent from KPS to withdraw the charges.
On March 27, 2014, Kassim, 84, had claimed trial to three charges.
He later filed a judicial review application at the civil high court seeking a declaration, among others, that the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jawi) had acted beyond the powers provided under state Islamic laws and the federal Constitution when it arrested and prosecuted him.
The high court dismissed the judicial review which was then overturned by the appellate court, which ruled that Kassim’s arrest was illegal as it was not in accordance with the Kedah Syariah Enactment.
It also ruled that Kassim, being a resident of Kedah, was not obligated to a Federal Territory fatwa (Islamic ruling) as he was not arrested in a federal territory.
On March 7 this year, the Federal Court dismissed an application for leave to appeal brought by the government, Jawi, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, and the then Federal Territory syariah chief prosecutor against the Court of Appeal’s decision. — Bernama