KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The sister of a Malaysian man who has been charged with insulting a state sultan on Facebook said Friday that he is innocent and will lodge a complaint over his detention.
Anisa Abdul Jalil said her brother Ahmad Abdul Jalil was charged Thursday with making offensive postings on Facebook last month. But she said there is no evidence linking Ahmad to the posts in question, which were made by someone using the name "Zul Yahaya."
"This is ridiculous as they have failed to build a case against him. We are very angry. It is a dirty game and an abuse of power, an abuse of the court process," Anisa told the Associated Press.
Ahmad was freed on bail Thursday after six days of detention, during which he was denied access to lawyers and family members.
Anisa said Ahmad told the family that police tried to force a confession from him but he stood firm. She said Ahmad will file a complaint with police for unlawful detention and intimidation.
Defense lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fitri said they would appeal to throw out the charges against Ahmad when the case is next heard Nov. 28.
The posts in question were directed at Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of southern Johor state. Fadiah said that according to the charge sheet, the postings likened the sultan's skin and behavior to that of a pig, which is viewed as a dirty animal in Islam.
"The charges are unfounded. Ahmad is vocal and is critical about political matter but he didn't write the postings. It seems that Ahmad is being prosecuted for exercising his rights," Fadiah said. Ahmad faces up to a year in jail if convicted, she added.
Nine Malaysian states have sultans and other royal figures. Though their roles are largely ceremonial, they command wide respect after centuries of hereditary rule.
Under Malaysian law, acts that provoke hatred against royal rulers are considered seditious. Only a few people have been charged with the crime in recent years.