KUALA LUMPUR: Former Umno Youth exco, Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris (pix), was charged in the court here, today, for allegedly making seditious remarks linking the government to pro-Israel and pro-Western countries last year.

Wan Muhammad Azri, 41, also known as Papagomo, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read out to him, before Judge N. Priscilla Hemamalini.

“I plead not guilty and I want to go on trial,” he said.

Wan Muhammad Azri was accused of making seditious remarks on the Halid Hamidi Facebook page (Halid Mat Kool), and the remarks were seen by an individual at a condominium in Jalan Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang at 1 pm on Nov 8.

The charge was framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 and is punishable under Section 4(1) of the same law, which provides a fine of not more than RM5,000 or a maximum of three years in jail or both, if convicted.

Deputy public prosecutor, Mohamad Mustaffa Kunyalam, offered RM10,000 bail with one surety.

He also asked for a gag order to be imposed against Wan Muhammad Azri, to deter him from commenting about the case.

In mitigation, lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, representing the accused, pleaded for a lower bail of RM3,000, stating that his client was cooperating well during the authorities’ investigation.

“My client works online, besides looking after his wife, who is a housewife, and five school-going children. We also oppose the gag order as it infringes on the freedom of expression of my client,“ he said.

Judge Priscilla allowed Muhammad Azri RM7,000 bail in one surety and did not impose any additional conditions.

The court set Feb 5 for mention. -Bernama