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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Siti Kasim charged for obstruction over Jawi transgender raid



Lawyer Siti Kasim today pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstructing the duties of a public servant at a Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) raid at a transgender event last year.
The activist, whose real name is Siti Zabedah Kasim, was slapped with the charge under Section 186 of the Penal Code, which concerns 'obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions' at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Siti Hajar Mohd Ashif said Siti Kasim had intentionally obstructed Jawi official Nor Jihan Saleh from carrying out the raid, and asked the court to not allow bail. 
Siti Kasim's lawyer Roger Chan and his assistant Rajsurian Pillai however, argued against the idea and said their client is not a flight risk.
Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abdul Wahid then allowed RM3,000 bail with one surety and fixed the case mention for August 22. 
If convicted, Siti could face a maximum two years in prison or a maximum fine of RM10,000, or both. 
Over 40 supporters of Siti Kasim turned up for solidarity before the court proceedings began.
This includes former Bar Council president Steven Thiru, Bersih assistant chairperson Rama Ramanathan, Sisters in Islam executive director Rozana Isa and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activist Nisha Ayub.
The raid in question occurred during a transwomen event in April 2016, at the Renaissance Hotel, where Siti Kasim was present as a guest. Siti Kasim had tried to explain to the raiding party that the event was closed-door fundraising occasion and not a beauty pageant, as the Jawi officials have claimed. 
She was then arrested together with the event's organiser and taken to the Dang Wangi police station. 
Speaking to reporters after posting bail, Siti Kasim said she will continue doing what she has been doing, "not only for the LGBTQ community but everybody".
"This is pure intimidation, I filed a civil suit against them and suddenly one year later they are charging me in court for this,” she said. 

She was referring to her lawsuit against Jawi filed late last year, in which she had asked the religious authority to release the details of the officers involved in her arrest so that she can proceed with the lawsuit. 
On June 13, the Kuala Lumpur High Court gave Jawi 14 days to release the requested details. 
Siti Kasim, in confirming that she has received the names of the officers involved, said: "We will now proceed with the filing of the OS (Originating Summons)."- Mkini

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