PROHAM views with concern and compassion when a citizen has to resort to appealing to the Agong for justice and help as in the case of Borders bookstore branch manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz who has been reported to be pleading to His Royal Highness to stop the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department’s (JAWI) persistence in seeking punishment against Nik Raiana for allegedly selling and distributing a book deemed unIslamic by local religious authorities.
Despite the findings of three courts, JAWI has filed an appeal to the Shariah Appeal court on 9 March 2015. On 26 February 2015 the Shariah High Court discharged Nik Raina. Both the High Court on 22 March 2013 and the Court of Appeal on 30 December 2014 have since ruled in Nik Raina’s favour. It is valuable to recognize that the Court of Appeal found the prosecution against Nik Raina as being "unreasonable, irrational" and done in bad faith, and that it was against the "principle of fairness and justice".
Whilst PROHAM recognizes that JAWI has the option to appeal as the Shariah High Court’s discharge does not amount to an acquittal we urge the authorities to exercise discretion, wisdom and compassion not to pursue this option. The latest move by JAWI is not proportional when we have witnessed the ordeal for Nik Raina stretching almost three years when JAWI had arrested her in 2012.
PROHAM is encouraged by the Honourable Shariah High Court judge Mohd Amran Mat Zain’s ruling on the need to adhere to the spirit of fairness and justice on which the civil court and the Shariah court are grounded, as well as respecting the Federal Constitution. The Honourable judge appeared to acknowledge and empathize with Nik Raina’s suffering as a result of this case.
Furthermore the JAWI latest appeal to the Shariah Appeal Court opens up questions of illegality and constitutionality as this appeal may prove to be an act of contempt against the orders of the both the civil High Court and Court of Appeal’s orders. PROHAM is in agreement with the Group 25, which expressed their concern that JAWI’s filing of an appeal "may well have the effect of bringing the Syariah and civil courts into a collision course and manifest a conflict of laws.”
PROHAM urges that justice, compassion and fairness be the guiding principles and values in our justice system and that we do right by Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz.
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Chairman)
March 28, 2015