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Monday, March 2, 2009

Sham trials and Kangaroo Courts

Monday, 02 March 2009 | Malaysiatoday.

I am prepared to face the consequences of my actions. But it must be in a fair trial where I will be given an opportunity to defend myself in the proper way. I shall not accept a sham trial in a Kangaroo Court. I would rather go to jail for defying the system then go to jail for what would be perceived as ‘found guilty’ in a ‘fair’ trial.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Seriously, is there any point in continuing with my many court cases? From the word go they have been constantly moving the goalposts halfway through the game -- not that my freedom is a game, to start off with. What I am being subjected to is reminiscent of the trials that Anwar Ibrahim had to endure. In case some of you may have forgotten the 1998-1999 episode, they also moved the goalposts many times during Anwar’s trial in their effort to secure a conviction on what even non-lawyers would consider a most weak case indeed.

In a criminal indictment, the accused need not prove his/her innocence. It is the prosecution’s job to prove guilt. Anwar, however, was made to prove his innocence. And, in spite of him successfully providing an alibi to prove he was nowhere near the scene of the allegedly crime, the judge still found him guilty because, according to the judge, Anwar had failed to prove his innocence.

But that is just the point. Firstly, not only did Anwar prove his innocence, it was also not his job to do so. The onus was on the prosecution to prove guilt. But the judge was of the opinion that Anwar failed to prove his innocence, when actually he did. And the judge totally ignored the fact that, in the first place, it was not the accused’s job to prove his/her innocence but the prosecution’s job to prove guilt.

For example, the police confiscated Anwar’s diaries and international passport, which could help prove he was somewhere else on the date the sodomy act was supposed to have been committed. Anwar’s lawyers, however, produced Photostat copies of the crucial documents but the judge refused to accept these copies. He wanted the originals. Anwar’s lawyers explained that the police had confiscated the originals so all they had were the copies.

The judge still insisted on the originals and he asked the police to produce them. But the police could not do so as they had somehow been ‘misplaced’ and the police could not find them. So what do we have here? The copies were not accepted while the police could not find the originals, which they had confiscated. And Anwar, therefore, could not satisfy the judge that he was somewhere else on the day in question. Nevertheless, Anwar was still able to prove he was somewhere else but the judge conveniently ‘overlooked’ this in his judgement.

There were many other issues that were not kosher but it will take me ten pages to go through the entire list. Suffice to say, the defence successfully rebutted all the issues and all the prosecution was left with, in the end, was the sole testimony of the so-called victim, Azizan Abu Bakar. And, when cross-examined under oath, Azizan confirmed, THREE TIMES, that Anwar never sodomised him.

Even the judge was shocked. He dropped his pen and remarked that the witness was so unreliable. “He says one thing today and another thing tomorrow,” said the judge. But when he delivered his judgement, the judge said that: no doubt the witness is inconsistent, but just because he lied does not mean his entire testimony needs to be rejected. “I find his testimony as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar,” said the judge who had earlier chided the witness for lying on the stand while under oath.

In any other country, the witness would have been jailed for perjury instead of Anwar jailed for sodomy.

Has anything changed in the ten years since? Not from what I can see. I was detained under the Internal Security Act on four charges. Two were supposedly for insulting Islam, one for a comment someone posted in Malaysia Today, and another for an article I was alleged to have written.

Now, first of all, religion is a state matter and if I had insulted Islam, as alleged, then the state religious authorities should have taken action against me. But they did not. Instead, JAKIM, a federal authority that has no enforcement powers, lodged a police report against me and that was the basis of my detention. On the comment in the Blog, it was posted during the time when Malaysia Today had been blocked. So I had no control over what was posted and could not have done anything about the matter since I could not access the site. Yet I was held accountable for the posting.

On the article I was alleged to have written, I was already facing trial under the Sedition Act for that same article. Therefore, by detaining me under the Internal Security Act, I was being punished twice for the same alleged offence. One can’t face more than one punishment for the same offence. But in my case they were punishing me twice.

The Shah Alam High Court ruled that my detention was illegal and, on 7 November 2008, the court freed me. And the government is now appealing the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to free me. But the same Shah Alam High Court also acquitted Razak Baginda from the murder charge. The government, however, does not want to appeal that decision. So, Razak Baginda is now a free man and I, again, may be sent back to Kamunting.

My lawyers asked for a quorum of seven judges to hear the ISA appeal by the government. The Federal Court, however, would only allow a quorum of three judges, one who is not acceptable because he was the judge in the Anwar trial and I had criticised him bitterly and had called him all sorts of foul names. When we asked the judge in question to recuse, he refused, and the Federal Court ruled he could hear my case. My fate has been sealed even before the trial started. Why would this judge give me a fair and unbiased hearing when I had insulted him about what he did to Anwar?

In my sedition trial, which is running back-to-back with the Internal Security Act appeal, the most important witness, Supt. Gan, the same man who made the police report against me, refused to reply to all the questions posed to him. He is most uncooperative and just refuses to answer all the questions. But then he was the one who made the police report against me.

My so-called seditious act, according to Supt. Gan’s police report, is because I was alleged to have fabricated (di ada adakan) certain portions of the article I was alleged to have written. Supt. Gan was the Investigating office in the Altantuya murder investigation. So, according to him, he knows what happened and what I was alleged to have written are lies.

Let us walk through that allegation again. I am seditious because I had lied. And Supt. Gan knows I had lied because he knows what is the truth since he was the Investigating Officer in the Altantuya murder investigation.

Okay, so what is the truth then? If we can establish the truth then we can also establish whether I had indeed lied as alleged -- assuming, in the first place, they can prove I had really written that article I was alleged to have written. But Supt. Gan would not tell the court what the truth is. So how can they establish whether I had lied if we don’t know what the truth is?

The prosecutor then said it is not important if I had lied or had told the truth. The truth is not material to the sedition charge, argued the prosecutor. Even if I had told the truth it is still seditious. Okay, that may be so under ‘normal’ circumstances. But I am being charged for sedition on the basis that I had spun lies. So how can the truth not be material to the charge?

Then they tried to prove I had written the article so that the truth of the matter need not be argued. They only need to prove I had written it, lies or otherwise. But on examining the two computers, which they had earlier confiscated, they could not find any evidence to pin me down. On the date the article in question was published, the two computers had not accessed the Internet. Furthermore, there was no such article found in the two computers. So they failed to prove I had written the article because there was no evidence in the computers. In fact, they did not even prove that I own those two computers, notwithstanding the fact they were confiscated from my house.

They are now stuck. So they are trying, yet again, to move the goalposts to pin me down. And, while they figure out how to get me, they postponed the trial till the end of April to allow them more time to find something they can use against me and prove that I had indeed published that article.

On my criminal defamation case, I am being charged for defaming three people, one of them Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister. But Rosmah is not working for the government. She is just the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister. And that is not an official government post like that of the First Lady of the United States, the wife of the US President. So how can they charge me under criminal defamation against Rosmah?

With regards to the other two, who may be government officers, I did not ‘defame’ them in their official capacity as government officers. So the criminal defamation also does not apply to them unless, when they got rid of Altantuya, they did so in their official capacity and on behalf of the Government of Malaysia. If they were not acting for the Government of Malaysia when they got rid of Altantuya and were actually on a frolic of their own, then I did not ‘defame’ them in their official capacity. If, however, they were, then the Government of Malaysia is behind the Altantuya murder.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. I smell a fix every step of the way. I am not on trial. I am being crucified. Is there any purpose in continuing with this farce? I might as well just boycott all the three trials and not even make an appearance. If they want to fix me up then let them do it in absentia without me giving legitimacy to this whole thing. And I might as well also ask my lawyers to boycott the trials as a mark of protest.

That’s right. If they want to conduct sham trials in a Kangaroo Court then let them do so without me. Why give them the satisfaction of seeing me sit there while they fix me up? I will give them the middle finger and tell them to go fuck themselves. They can do what they want but it will have to be without my presence. Sure, then they will issue a warrant of arrest, revoke my bail, and send me to the Sungai Buloh Prison while my trial continues the next year or so. But then they will have to get me first and I will not make it easy for them.

I am prepared to face the consequences of my actions. Berani buat, berani tanggung. But it must be in a fair trial where I will be given an opportunity to defend myself in the proper way. I shall not accept a sham trial in a Kangaroo Court. And there will be no compromise on the matter. I would rather go to jail for defying the system then go to jail for what would be perceived as ‘found guilty’ in a ‘fair’ trial.

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