Tamrin Ghafar free of sedition charge as prosecution ends case

Azril Annuar
Datuk Tamrin Ghafar (left) speaks to reporters outside the courtroom at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court, August 29, 2018. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, Aug 29 — Politician Datuk Tamrin Ghafar was acquitted today of his sedition charge over remarks made in 2013 after the prosecution chose to withdraw the case before the Sessions Court here.

The move is consistent with a previous announcement that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was reviewing all pending cases under the Sedition Act.

Judge Aswarnida Affandi agreed with Tamrin's lawyer, Eric Paulsen, that the politician should be fully acquitted and his bail payment refunded by next week.

“The accused is released and acquitted from all charges. The bail money will be returned to the accused, but because this is a Kuala Lumpur case, we will need a grace period before returning the money,” said Aswarnida.

Speaking to reporters later, Paulsen explained that the defence wrote to the AGC and asked for it to drop the case in light of Pakatan Harapan’s pledge to repeal laws such as the Sedition Act.

He added that the government should also drop all pending sedition cases.

Tamrin expressed relief at the end of his five-year legal ordeal.

The son of late deputy prime minister Tun Ghafar Baba said he should not have been charged in the first place for simply giving his opinion.

“Under the old regime led by (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) we had no freedom of speech. Thank God that under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad we have regained our freedom of speech,” Tamrin said.

On May 29, 2013 Tamrin together with activists Haris Ibrahim, Safwan Anang and PKR vice-president Tian Chua were charged for uttering seditious words during a rally on May 13 that year, just a few days after the 13th general election.