S’wak Report editor charged with defamation over T’ganu sultanah case
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown has been charged in absentia for criminal defamation in a Magistrate’s Court in Kuala Terengganu.
This is over her book “The Sarawak Report – The inside story of 1MDB” which mentioned the Terengganu sultanah.
The charge was brought against Rewcastle Brown (above) in absentia this morning under Section 500 of the Penal Code which provides a punishment of up to two years imprisonment or a fine or both.
According to the charge sheet, the offending parts is contained in line seven of paragraph four on page three of the book.
“(It) contains accusation against Sultanah Nur Zahirah as underlined ‘the wife of the sultan’ which is libel where you have cause to believe that the accusation will spoil the good name of Sultanah Nur Zahirah.”
The charge sheet claimed the book was written at Lot 60048, Taman Chenderiang 21080 in Kuala Terengganu on Sept 14, 2018 at 8am.
The venue in a charge sheet can sometimes follow the venue of where the report was lodged or where the alleged offence was first witnessed.
According to Bernama, magistrate Nordiana Abd Aziz issued a warrant for Rewcastle Brown’s arrest for failing to turn up in court. The case has been set for mention on Nov 23.
In a statement, Rewcastle Brown responded to the charges by decrying it as intimidation and abuse of power.
She added that there is no such crime as “criminal defamation” under British law, so any attempt to extradite her will fail.
“Given this rather ridiculous situation, I humbly suggest that the abolition of Malaysia’s outdated criminal defamation laws should be added to the long list of reforms needed to end the oppression of civil liberties and basic human rights in Malaysia.
“Sadly, attempts to do so under the elected Pakatan Harapan government were overturned by the return to office of those responsible for 1MDB. Hence, the revival of this case,” she said.