Tuesday July 10, 2012
Publishing house names Jais in suit over arrest and raid
By MAIZATUL NAZLINA
KUALA LUMPUR: A publishing house and its owner are challenging religious authorities over his arrest and a raid that also resulted in book seizures at their office in Petaling Jaya in May.
ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and company director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid named the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) among the respondents in their suit, filed at the High Court (Appellate and Special Powers), through the legal firm Messrs Bashir & Co here yesterday.
Also named were Jais director-general, Jais enforcement chief, the Selangor syarie prosecution chief as well as the Selangor and Malaysian governments.
ZI Publications is the publisher of a 388-page book titled Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta, the translated Malay version of the original book by Canadian writer Allah, Liberty and Love, published by The Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Jais enforcement officers had raided the office of ZI Publications in Merchant Square on May 29, and seized 180 copies of the book which was deemed to be against Islamic law.
They also arrested Mohd Ezra, who was brought before a Lower Syarie Court judge and freed after he posted bail.
The plaintiffs claimed the raiding party had no jurisdiction to enter and search the premises that was rented by ZI Publications.
They also claimed Mohd Ezra’s arrest was against the law as he has the freedom to express himself under Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution and that only Parliament could stop the freedom. In his affidavit, Mohd Ezra said Jais’ action was an abuse of discretionary power as the department had never previously informed ZI Publications that Jais had protested against the book.
Mohd Ezra claimed the respondents had failed to explain which part of the book was deemed to be against Islamic law, as the definition was wide.
He is seeking a declaration that the search warrant issued on May 28 was null and void; a compensation for mental distress, agony and torture suffered and the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995 and Syariah Court Criminal Procedure Enactment (Selangor) 2003 were not applicable to artificial personality.