A witness in Muslim preacher Ebit Lew’s sexual harassment trial told the magistrates’ court in Tenom that the alleged victim initially refused to file a police report as she was intimidated by his stature.
Motivational expert Fairuz Abu, the prosecution’s first witness, said he had received dozens of WhatsApp messages from individuals who claimed to be victims of sexual harassment by Lew.
“One of the individuals (name withheld) contacted me on July 26, 2021 at 11.04pm.
“There were also others who complained of being victims of sexual harassment by Ebit but they did not reveal their names because they were afraid and did not dare to come forward.
“At first, the (alleged victim) asked who was the individual I was referring to in my (Facebook) post.
“When I said it was Ebit, the complainant shared screenshots of Ebit’s conversation with her. The complainant also shared a photo of private parts Ebit sent via WhatsApp,” he said when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Zahida Zakaria.
Fairuz said he then advised the victim to file a police report.
He said he told the complainant that failure to lodge a police report might lead to others also being sexually harassed by Lew.
At this point, Lew’s lawyer, Ram Singh, said such a statement was merely a claim that was not backed by any proof.
“That cannot be recorded unless he has proof in the form of a police report,” he said.
However, Zahida said it was a conversation between Fairuz and the complainant.
Fairuz said he was called in by the police for questioning along with the complainant.
Lew, 37, is facing 11 charges, including insulting the modesty of a 41-year-old woman by sending her text messages containing lewd words between March and June last year.
The preacher, who was charged under Section 509 of the Penal Code, faces a jail term of up to five years or a fine, or both, upon conviction. – FMT