Malaysia: Internet writer released

English PEN warmly welcomes the release on 7 November 2008 of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, founder and editor of the website Malaysia Today (http://mt.m2day.org/2008 ).

According to our information, Raja Petra Kamaruddin was released last Friday, 7 November, after a high court judge ruled that his detention was illegal. Raja Petra had been sentenced without trial to two-years in prison on 22 September 2008 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for his critical writings published online.

Raja Petra 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.’ He 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 Interior Minister Syed Hamid Albar signed an order to remand him in custody for up to two years under section 8 of the ISA. On 7 November 2008 the high court in Shah Alam city ruled that the Interior Minister had overstepped his authority in ordering the detention of Raja Petra, and he was immediately released.

Nevertheless, Raja Petra Kamaruddin still faces sedition charges for an article he published on his website on 25 April 2008 which implicates senior ruling party leaders in the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman. The trial started on 15 August 2008 and is ongoing. English PEN remains seriously concerned about these charges, and continues to call for them to be dropped in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Background:

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.

Messages of support can be sent to Raja Petra via his website at labisman@yahoo.com

Please send appeals:

– Welcoming the release of internet writer Raja Petra Kamarrudin, but expressing concern that he still faces sedition charges solely for the peaceful expression of his opinions;

– Calling for all charges against internet writer Raja Petra Kamarrudin to be dropped 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
Malaysia
Fax: 60 3 8888 3444
E-mail: ppm@pmo.gov.my
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
Email pro@agc.gov.my
Salutation: Dear Tan Sri Gani

If possible please send appeals c/o the Ambassador for Malaysia in your country, asking for their comments:

His Excellency Datuk Abd Aziz Mohammed
45-46 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8QT

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/malaysiainternetwriterreleased/

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