KUALA LUMPUR (July 17, 2008)
Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, 58, was charged in the magistrate's Court here today with three counts of criminal defamation of the deputy prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Acting Colonel Abdul Aziz Buyong, and his wife, Norhayati Hassan.
He allegedly defamed them in his statutory declaration made at the Civil High Court here at 10.25am on June 18, a charge under Section 500 of the Penal Code which carries a penalty of up to two years jail, a fine, or both.
Raja Petra had in a June 18 statutory declaration, implicated Rosmah in the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.
In his statutory declaration, Raja Petra had also named the two others - acting colonel Aziz Buyong, who is described as ‘a C4 expert’ and his wife, known only as Norhayati (Hassan), who is also said to be Rosmah’s aide de camp.
The malaysia-today.net editor refused to enter a plea to all three charges, claiming that they were defective and mala fide (in bad faith).
Deputy public prosecutor Anselm Charles Fernandis took it as a 'not guilty' plea and requested magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham to set bail at RM10,000.
Raja Petra's lawyer J. Chandra argued for bail to be slashed to be halved but Raja Petra who interjected twice during the proceedings -- once over the "not guilty plea" and again over the bail, said if his lawyer agreed with these matters, he would sack him and represent himself.
He then spoke fast for about five minutes, arguing his objection to bail, on the grounds that he had cooperated with police and that he was also involved in other cases.
Magistrate Nazran who had a tough time trying to record what he said told Raja Petra: "If you don't respect me, it's okay, but please respect the court. Please give me a chance for me to record."
Chandra then asked the court for a recess so he could discuss matters with his client
After an hour-long break which ended at 1.40pm, Chandra applied for Raja Petra to be released on personal bond, sparking off objections from the prosecution.
Nazran later fixed bail at RM2,000 for all three charges.
Raja Petra's wife Marina Lee Abdullah posted bail at 3.20pm.
About 20 people, including opposition politicians, wearing yellow T-shirts turned up to support Raja Petra.
Earlier in the morning, Raja Petra reported to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters as instructed and was arrested before being brought to court.
He told reporters gathered outside that he was "in the mood to fight".
Meanwhile, Marina had expressed the worry that Raja Petra would decide not to post bail and go to prison instead.
"This is a bailable offence. I hope he does not surprise me again and do not take bail."
Two months ago, when Raja Petra was charged with sedition for publishing an allegedly seditious article entitled 'Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell' in his website, he refused to post bail. He however agreed to post bail three days later.