Sedition trial: Arrest warrant for RPK
Apr 23, 09 9:57am
An arrest warrant has been issued against Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin this morning for failing to appear in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court for the continuation of his sedition trial.
Raja Petra, 59, is facing trial for posting an allegedly seditious article entitled ‘Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell’ on his website.
The charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years’ jail, or both, upon conviction.
The popular blogger and his wife, Marina Lee Abdullah – who stood as his bailor – was no where to be seen when the court resumed today at 9.25am.
When Sessions judge Rozina Ayob asked for the accused, defence lawyer J Chandra informed the court that about a posting in Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today website in which the controversial blogger wrote that he would not be in court.
According to the posting, Raja Petra was on a “self-imposed exile” from Selangor and hence he could not be in Petaling Jaya where the court is located.
Raja Petra explained his ‘exile’ was the result of the hurt he had caused to the Selangor palace which he is a member, and going by royal convention, he had decided on being exiled from the state.
On hearing this, Rozina asked whether there was a written order from the royalty for Raja Petra’s exile and Chandra replied he did not know.
“This is a punishment he meted out for himself,” said Chandra.
Being a bankrupt, he cannot leave Malaysia
DPP Shahidani Abd Aziz subsequently applied for a warrant of arrest against Raja Petra as well as a show-cause notice for bailor Marina, who was also not present in court today.
Chandra also informed the court he did not know the reason for Marina’s absence.
Rozina eventually agreed to issue the arrest warrant. The judge then fixed May 22 for the hearing of the arrest warrant and the show cause notice.
While Raja Petra and his disappearance had been a mystery, there are speculations that he could have gone overseas. Some of his supporters who were in court today said they had no idea where the blogger is.
DPP Ishak Mohd Yusof, who is assisting Shahidani, said with the arrest warrant against the blogger, the police would be required to locate Raja Petra.
Asked about the possibility that Raja Petra could be overseas, he said it would be imppossible as the blogger is already declared a bankrupt and was not supposed to leave the country.
According to co-counsel Gobind Singh Deo, the last time he had contact with the popular blogger was two months ago, during the prosecution’s appeal against his release from Internal Security Act in the Federal Court.
The court was also told that there would be 10 more prosecution witness in the sedition trial.
Mounting legal problems for RPK
Before the trial was adjourned in February, Gobind had raised the issue of an apparent photograph of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak seated at the same table with murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu during her birthday party in Mandarin Hotel, Singapore.
Raja Petra is facing another charge for criminal defamation in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for allegingly implicating Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and two army officers in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The popular blogger’s problem does not end there.
He has been ordered to pay RM1 million by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to Umno treasurer Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi following a judgment in default entered against him on April 3.
Last year, the Alor Star High Court had also ordered Raja Petra to pay damages over libel claims by a university head.
University Utara Malaysia and its vice-chancellor Nordin Kardi filed a lawsuit against Raja Petra over an item that alleged Nordin had plagiarised an article.
The High Court made the decision after Raja Petra, who published the story in his website, failed to file a defence.
It ordered Raja Petra to pay RM4 million to Nordin and the university.
Raja Petra has argued that the offending item was a letter written to him by a former student representative and that he would not pay the compensation.