KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Malaya law lecturer Azmi Sharom (pic) pleaded not guilty after he was charged with sedition on Tuesday at the KL Sessions Court for comments made on an online portal over the 2009 Perak crisis.
Azmi, who is also a columnist with The Star, claimed trial after being charged under Section 4(1)(b) and Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948.
If convicted under either the first charge or alternative charge, Azmi will face a fine of not more than RM5,000, a jail term of not more than three years, or both, if found guilty.
Bail was set at RM5,000 while the next mention was fixed by the court on Oct 3. Azmi posted bail.
Earlier, the courtroom was packed with Azmi’s supporters. Among those who were present included human rights activist Marina Mahathir, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, lawyer Syaredzan Johan and PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil.
The law professor's comments in an article titled, “Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told”, was published by the English online portal on Aug 14.
Azmi is the latest to be caught in the recent sedition dragnet, following last Thursday's charging of Padang Serai MP N. Surendran, at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Surendran is alleged to have committed the offence at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya in his capacity as counsel for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by saying in a YouTube video that the Sodomy 2 proceedings against Anwar were “an attempt to jail the opposition leader of Malaysia.”
This is the second sedition charge levelled against Surendran, who was charged with sedition on Aug 19.
In his first charge, the incumbent PKR vice-president allegedly made statements regarding the judgment of the appellate court in Anwar's second sodomy case in a YouTube video.