Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jail and fine for Occupy Dataran student

The magistrate's court, on Friday, slapped an 'Occupy Dataran' student Umar Mohd Azmi with a month’s jail and a RM1,000 fine – he was charged on April 23 under Section 186 of the Penal Code with obstructing DBKL officer Mohd Masran Mamat from "apprehending and escorting" activist Mohd Fahmi Reza Mohd Zarin into custody. This allegedly took place during a surprise DBKL raid on a protest camp at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur about 8 AM on April 22. [Student activists had occupied the iconic square in protest against the student loan scheme National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), which they claim is unfair].

Umar's lawyers, Syahredzan Johan and Puspawati Rosman had asked magistrate Zaki Asyraf Zubir to exercise his discretion under Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code to bind him over or impose a fine as Umar's participation in the Occupy Dataran movement was an exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Syahredzan added that deputy public prosecutor Wong Chai Sia did not ask the court for a jail sentence but a “commensurate punishment” and a “deterrent sentence”.

But, Zaki opted for a custodial sentence.

The counsel then applied for a stay of execution of sentence pending appeal, since the appeal might take more than one month. Wong did not object, but this application, too, was rejected by the magistrate.

On Friday itself, Umar (left) was taken to the Kajang Prison to begin his jail sentence.

The magistrate was obviously doing UMNO’s dirty work. They had intended to send him to jail by readily sentencing him on Friday and then, very conveniently, the DPP disappeared from sight! And if you remember Zaki   he was the magistrate who granted police the court order to ban Bersih 3.0 rally participants and members of the public from gathering at Dataran Merdeka in April this year.

Today, from his cell, Umar delivered a message and it was conveyed through his father who visited him in Kajang prison: "Dunia belum kiamat, berjuang sampai tamat!” (The world has not ended yet, fight till the end!)  His father said Umar's fighting spirit is untouched by his ordeal.

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