PETALING JAYA: Some 300 academics and concerned individuals have collectively expressed their solidarity with Universiti Malaya law lecturer Associate Professor Dr Azmi Sharom, who was charged with sedition over comments made on the 2009 Perak crisis.
"Charging him with 'uttering and publishing a seditious statement' only shows the hypocrisy of this government.
"After all, does not this same government also employ Azmi to teach students about our legal system," said the statement Wednesday, accompanied by 300 signatures representing people from across the nation and even as far as Washington and London.
The statement added that being summarily hauled up for doing his job defeated the purpose of the work done by Azmi and other academicians around the world.
"Charging Azmi over his informed views reveals a lack of respect for the universal principles of academic freedom.
It added that as long as one did not espouse violence or promote hate, there was no law in the modern world that could justify the criminalising of thought and public speech.
In addition to calling for Prof Azmi to be freed, the statement also asked for the Sedition Act 1948 to be repealed.
Prof Azmi was charged on Tuesday with sedition over comments made on an online portal over the 2009 Perak crisis.
The article titled "Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor Impasse, Pakatan told", was published in the Malay Mail Online on Aug 14.
The UM lecturer, who was charged under section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948, posted bail of RM5,000 and his next hearing has been scheduled for Oct 3.