Saturday, September 19

Siti Kasim freed on charge with obstructing Jawi officer at transgender event

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Siti Kasim’s lawyer Norlihan Alias (right) speaks to reporters at Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Magistrate’s Court here yesterday acquitted and discharged lawyer-cum-activist Siti Kasim on a charge of obstructing a Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) officer from discharging her public duty during an event at a hotel in 2016.

Magistrate Tawfiq Affandy Chin made the decision after finding the prosecution having failed to establish the case against Siti Kassim, whose real name is Siti Zabedah Kasim, 57, under Section 186 of the Penal Code, at the end of the prosecution’s case.

Siti Kasim was charged with resisting arrest by Jawi officer Siti Nor Jihan Saleh @ Md Ghazali, 36, at a hotel here at 10.30pm on April 3, 2016.

In his decision, Tawfiq said the charge against the accused was flawed because the form of obstruction was not specifically stated.

“Apart from that, from the testimony during the trial, the prosecution witness agreed that the accused cooperated and there was no evidence to show that the accused had obstructed the Jawi officer from carrying out her duties during the dinner event at the hotel,” he said.

Tawfiq also said the action by the accused was as a lawyer in protecting her client when questioning the absence of an arrest warrant to conduct the raid.

“In this case, Jawi should conduct its operation according to the prescribed procedure, which is to produce the arrest warrant. The raid was conducted for the offence of men acting like women, which is an offence that cannot be arrested without a warrant. However the offence, according to syariah crime, is an offence that allows arrest.

“Although the raid is based on public information, Jawi should conduct the operation courteously. The court finds that the event was conducted properly.

“Therefore, the court acquitted and discharged the accused of the charge without having to call for her defence,” said Tawfiq.

It is learnt that the dinner  was a closed-door event and involved members of the transgender community.

Deputy public prosecutor Nur Ashikin Mokhtar stood for prosecution, while Siti Kasim was represented by lawyers Suzana Norlihan Alias and Rajsurian Pillai.

Lawyer Arik Zakri Abdul Kadir held a watching brief for the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council, and lawyer Tay Kit Hoo for the Malaysian Bar. — Bernama