Malaysia: Internet writer detained

***UPDATE: English PEN warmly welcomes the release on 7 November 2008 of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, after a high court judge ruled that his detention was illegal. Nevertheless, we remained seriously concerned that Raja Petra still faces sedition charges for an article published in April 2008, and are calling for all charges against him to be dropped in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For more information, click here.***

English PEN protests the detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, founder and editor of the website Malaysia Today ( ), who was sentenced without trial to two-years in prison on 22 September 2008 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for his critical writings published online. The sentence can be renewed indefinitely.

According to our information, Raja Petra Kamaruddin was arrested on 12 September 2008 for allegedly ‘insulting Islam’ and publishing articles on his website which ‘tarnished the country’s leadership to the point of causing confusion among the people.’ Raja Petra filed a habeas corpus application at the High Court in Kuala Lumpa on 16 September 2008 seeking his release from detention, but on 22 September 2008, in a move thought to counteract his probable release, the Malaysian Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar signed an order to remand him in custody for up to two years under section 8 of the ISA. Remand orders under section 8 cannot be challenged in court and can only be ordered or overturned by a minister of the government. Two other journalists have been arrested under the ISA in Malaysia in recent weeks, but were both released after a brief detention.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin is presently being held at the Kamunting Detention Center in northern Perak state. On 23 September 2008, his lawyers submitted a habeas corpus to the Kuala Lumpur High Court to overturn his detention, and a judge has ordered lawyers to make their submissions on the case by 28 October.

Raja Petra reportedly started the Malaysia Today website and his blog to facilitate open discussion on Malaysia’s political and social scenes. In his online writings, he is known for his outspoken criticisms of the government and his advocacy of transparency, accountability and justice in the Malaysian political system.

English PEN considers Kamaruddin to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.


Please send appeals:
• Protesting the detention of internet writer Raja Petra Kamarrudin solely for the peaceful expression of his opinions;
• Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Appeals to:
Prime Minister
Datuk Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi
Prime Ministers Department
Federal Government Administration Centre
Bangunan Perdana Putra
62502 Putrajaya
Fax: 60 3 8888 3444
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Attorney General
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
Attorney General’s Chambers
Level 1-8, Block C3 & Level 2, Block C7
Federal Government Administrative centre
62512 Wp Putrajaya
Fax 60 3 888 9378
Salutation: Dear Tan Sri Gani

If possible please send appeals via the representative for Malaysia in the UK, asking for their comments:

H E Datuk Abd Aziz Mohammed
45-46 Belgrave Square
Fax: 020 7235 5161

Originally posted with the url:

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