High Court lets Siti Kasim halt lawsuit against Jawi for related obstruction trial

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Human rights activist Siti Kasim is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex October 9, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The High Court here today allowed lawyer Siti Kasim’s civil suit against the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) and 14 of its officers to be deferred until the end of her criminal proceedings over a related case.

High Court judicial commissioner Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar allowed for Siti’s stay application in a decision delivered in chambers today.

The lawyer was charged in 2017 under Section 186 of the Penal Code that is punishable by two years in prison, a RM10,000 fine, or both upon conviction.

Siti’s lawyer, Surendra Ananth, added that Latifah rejected Jawi’s application to strike out the lawsuit.

“That application was dismissed with costs of RM2,000.

“As for now, this (civil) proceedings will be stayed until Siti’s criminal trial is finished.

“Assuming that there is no case against Siti, then this one will progress, assuming there is, then we will see what to do after that,” Surendra said.

Lawyer Surendra Ananth speaks to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex October 9, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

In April, Siti sued Jawi and its officers for her alleged wrongful arrest and illegal detention during its 2016 raid of a private fundraising dinner involving transgenders that featured a beauty pageant theme.

The suit claimed the actions against her amounted to false imprisonment, misfeasance of public office, and denial of her constitutional rights to personal liberty and to be told why she was detained.

Commenting on the civil court’s decision, Siti today thanked her lawyers as she could now focus on her trial for allegedly obstructing Jawi officers during the raid.

The next date for Siti’s criminal case is December 13, which is when the court will decide if she must enter her defence.

“Obviously, they have submitted very good submission on the application (today), so we will see in December for my criminal trial what the decision will be.

“The indication from the witnesses is there shouldn’t be a case, but I don’t know, we’ll see,” she said.

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