Bail given to 27 Ayah Pin followers

JERTEH: Twenty-seven of the 45 detained followers of the Sky Kingdom sect were allowed bail by the Besut Lower Syariah Court here yesterday.

Judge Wan Abdul Malik Wan Sidek set bail at RM2,000 each for the 22 women detainees and five men who were senior citizens.

He transferred the case to the Kuala Terengganu Syariah High Court following a request from the prosecution.

The case would be re-mentioned on Aug 4.

Sky Kingdom

The Sky Kingdom is a quasi-religious interfaith commune located in the eastern Malaysian state of Terengganu.

While Malaysia has a secular legal system, the country is ruled by a moderate Muslim majority.

“Muslims in Malaysia come under the purview of religious courts that are not part of the secular federal legal system. Any attempt to deviate from Islamic teachings, or to leave the religion, can bring harsh penalties from the religious courts.” [Source]

Sky Kingdom leader Ayah Pin claims to be a deity

The group includes former Muslims

Earlier, the judge ordered the release of three children of sect leader Ariffin Mohamad, better known as Ayah Pin, after the prosecution withdrew the charges against them.

They are Khairu Nadia, 18, Mohd Razilin Shah, 19, and Mohd Khairuddin, 20.

Mohd Safif Safuddin, three, who spent a week in the lockup and prison with his mother Noraini Mat Yaakob, was hugged by his sister Nadiah, four, and father Mohd Ghani Yusof, 43, outside the court.

However, Wan Abdul Malik ordered Kamariah Ali, 54, to be sent back to the prison, as she was unrepresented.

Several female detainees shed tears of joy in the court upon hearing of their temporary release.

They had spent a week at the Jerteh police station lockup and at the Pengkalan Chepa prison after the same court rejected their bail application on July 21.

Earlier, Chief Syarie prosecutor Mustafar Hamzah urged the court not to grant bail as the detainees could go into hiding.

However, counsel Zukri Jusoh, who represented 43 detainees, asked the court to release them on bail since five of them were senior citizens.

The others, he said, had to look after their children, including one woman who had an eight-month-old baby.

Zukri told the court he was appearing for the bail application of the detainees on behalf of the Bar Council’s Legal Aid Centre.

The detainees were charged under Section 10 of the Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) Terengganu 2001 for not adhering to a state fatwa (edict), which declared the Sky Kingdom teachings as deviant.

Lawyer Haris Mohamed Ibrahim said he filed a habeas corpus application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday, questioning the detention of Kamariah and Daud Mamat, 74, by the Terengganu Islamic Affairs Department.

He said both of them had made a statutory declaration in August 1998 that they were no longer Muslims.

“I have filed a certificate of urgency that the case be heard the soonest possible,” he said.

However, he said since Daud was allowed bail, he would withdraw the application when the case comes up for mention in the High Court.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Star, Malasia
July 29, 2005
K. Suthakar
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday July 29, 2005.
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