Ezra Zaid succeeds in quashing case involving banned book

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 25 Sep 2019

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): ZI Publications Sdn Bhd director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid (pic) has succeeded in his bid at the Court of Appeal here Wednesday (Sept 25) to quash the decision to prosecute him over charges relating to a banned book.

The 36-year-old was due to stand trial next month after pleading not guilty at the Lower Syariah Court in 2013 to alternative charges of publishing 180 copies of a book by Canadian Writer Irshad Manji that was deemed offensive to Islam.

In allowing his appeal, the court granted him a certiorari order quashing his arrest and prosecution by the Selangor Syariah prosecution chief, besides costs and damages for mental distress, agony and torture as a result of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (JAIS)'s wrongful action against him.

Justice Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid who sat with Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim and Datuk Suraya Othman ordered JAIS, its director-general, enforcement chief, Selangor Syariah prosecution chief and Selangor Government to pay RM10,000 costs to Mohd Ezra.

The three-member bench further ordered the matter to be remitted to the High Court for case management on Oct 9 pertaining to assessment of damages.

On May 29, 2012, JAIS raided the office of ZI Publications and seized 180 copies of the book titled, Allah, Kebebasan and Cinta. Mohd Ezra was also arrested.

The Home Ministry's prohibition order on both the original English version and Bahasa Malaysia translation was only gazetted on the same day.

ZI Publication and Mohd Ezra subsequently filed an application for judicial review to challenge the raid carried out by JAIS.

They also sought an order to quash JAIS's raid, seizure and arrest, as well as an order compelling the religious department to return the 180 copies.

On March 7, 2018, the High Court dismissed the judicial review.

At the proceeding today, the appellants were represented by counsel Fahri Azzat, while a team led by Selangor state assistant legal adviser Siti Fatimah Talib appeared for JAIS, Selangor Syariah prosecution chief and the Selangor government.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan represented the Malaysian Government.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ezra said when met by reporters that "it is a big day, and I'm very happy with the court's decision!"

He said the outcome was something his lawyers and family had been working towards for the past seven and a half years.

Fahri told reporters that the respondents must inform the Syariah court that they could not proceed with the prosecution of Mohd Ezra, following today's Court of Appeal decision. – Bernama

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Ezra Zaid , Courts , Book Ban , Appeal


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