Noor Afizal's bound over for good behavior for raping a minor has caused an uproar (Graphics by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR : Is it OK to rape if you’re an athlete or a sportsman with a bright future?
That appears to be the question on the minds of Malaysians who are outraged with the Appeals Court’s decision to let off convicted rapist Noor Afizal Azizan with merely ‘a bound over for good behaviour’ sentence.
Noor Afizal who is a national bowler had earlier been sentenced to jail for five years by the Malacca High Court for raping a 13-year old girl in 2009.
The brunt of the criticism against the Appeal’s Court decision was targeted at President of the Court of Appeal Tan Sri Raus Sharif's reasoning for the latest decision on the rape case.
Raus led a three-man panel of judges who substituted Noor Afizal’s jail term with a bound over for good behaviour for five years .
Blogger Rocky Bru questioned the judgement stating : “What consensual sex?”
Rocky said the girl was 13-years-old when the crime was committed three years ago and she would still be considered a minor today at 16-years-old.
“So what is the message that Raus Sharif is sending us? That it is not ‘ok’ for a loser to rape’s someone little girl but it is ‘OK’ if the rapist happens to be a fantastic bowler, a national star, someone with a bright future?’’
“What about the minor’s future?’’ Rocky questioned.
Blogger Seademon also expressed his utter disgust with the court’s decision. He pointed that Section 375 of the Malaysian Penal Code was explicit on the matter :
"A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the following descriptions: with or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age."
A comment by Anak Jati Perak in RockyBru’s posting read:
“Talk about stupidity, this judge takes the cake. A rape is a rape and the victim has to live the trauma time and again.
Just because the perpetrator has a bright future does not negate what he has done. What about the girl’s future? Is that not a consideration? Something is fundamentally wrong with this judgement. Can the Malaysian BAR raise this issue?”
Twitter users had also come out and expressed their dissatisfaction with the judgement some even suggested that Noor Afizal should be dropped from the national or state bowling squad.
Journalist Joe Lee who tweets via @klubbkidd started a hastag #BrightFutureRapeOK which is blazing a trail in the micro-blogging site after RockyBru's harsh criticism of the Appeals Court decision.
Joe Lee @klubbkidd suggested: “Noor Afizal Azizan should be BANNED FOR LIFE from ever competing in competitive sport let alone represent Malaysia.’’
@Phuttz wrote : “Since Noor Afizal Azizan got off easy, why don’t we send the judges into jail instead, for being stupid, senile and not fit to be in court.’’
Susan Lankester @suelanks wrote : “Judges who acquit Noor Afizal Azizan therefore is saying that it is okay to be a RAPIST! What’s happening to my country???”
Lawyer Aizat Abdul Rahman, via @AizatAbRahman, tweeted that the decision was made at the Court of Appeal level, and it could be turned by the Federal Court.
However, Nadiah Khairi via @nadiahkhairi, viewed that the decision could have probably been made after the way Noor Afizal has been behaving since the incident happened.
Members of Facebook group called Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & Snatch (Marah), considered the judgement as misleading and unfair to the girl.
Don Kurian wrote on the Marah FB page: “How can the court make any exception," national bowler with a bright future!”, engaging in sex with a minor 13 years of age is rape regardless if she had given consent ... The law is the law, this will certainly make a laughing stock of our senior judiciary”
However, Vincent Brian Wong viewed that judiciary should not be blamed because this case as he said: “The boy is lucky coz (because) he got a good lawyer and the judge know how to put it in words. Its not the law that is d problem, its d interpretation!”
On July 5 last year, the Sessions Court in binding him over considered several factors one of which that there was a consensual sexual relationship between him and the girl but the High Court overrturned the decision and imposed a 5 year jail sentence.
Would the Public Prosecutor be filing another appeal, to the Federal Court following this controversial Appeals Court verdict?
We, in The Mole, are certain that Malaysians would be watching this case very closely.