Top court accepts Sou’s appeal on suspension vote

Sulu Sou (center) during a recent event organized by the New Macau Association

The Court of Final Appeal (TUI) has accepted lawmaker Sulu Sou’s appeal regarding the suspension vote at the Legislative Assembly (AL) on December 4.

Yesterday, in a phone interview with the Times, Sou confirmed TUI’s decision. Sou said that his defense took the appeal to Macau’s top court hoping to sort out the legitimacy behind the suspension decision.

“We hope, through this independent judiciary, to sort out the flaws concerning the legitimacy during the procedure of the suspension. We hope the judiciary can judge and sort out this matter,” said Sou.

Sou told the Times that he intends to continue to appeal as a matter of principle.

“Basically, we think that we should take the responsibility to continue to appeal to the top court, according to the rights that the laws have granted us, to let them make an explanation [concerning the suspension decision],” said Sou.

“I think that regardless of the result, and whether [the court] accepts the appeal or not, I think that it is still worth that, through this appeal procedure, we can sort out the related legislation procedures which no one ever doubted,” said Sou. “I believe that it will be good for the AL, especially AL’s operation, or for the entire political system, to let the court witness some of the behaviors within the AL,” he added. 

Sou’s defense claims that several irregularities leading up to the December 4 suspension vote at the Legislative Assembly “violated the rules of procedure and fundamental rights of the appellant,” and that this should annul the suspension.

Previously, this appeal was rejected by the Second Instance Court on the basis that the court had no authority to rule on “political affairs.”

In an explanatory statement issued by the Court of Second Instance, the court argued that the deliberation leading to Sou’s mandate suspension did not qualify it as an administrative act “since it did not come from any organ of the administration. […] It was, instead, practiced by a legislative body with a political framework.”

“The immunity which members may enjoy in order to prevent them from being tried for their acts is already a prerogative of a political nature,” the court found. It was therefore an act “beyond the control of the courts.”

While acknowledging its inability to rule on political acts, the Second Instance Court also argued that neither it nor any other court in the MSAR – including the Court of Final Appeal – possesses the “legal competence to judge political acts of the Legislative Assembly plenary.”

When asked by the Times, Sou said, “I am confident. This action of ours can provide [us] with some explanations by the judiciary. If TUI did not accept the appeal, it still needs to make some explanation.”

When talking about his expectation for the result of this appeal, Sou said “I do not simply look at the chance of winning or at the chance of losing. […] We feel that this procedure will already yield a fair gain which can sort out something.” 

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