Malaysia raids office of political cartoonist

2015-01-29 11:40


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Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian authorities raided the office of a popular political cartoonist under a colonial-era sedition law, news reports and rights groups said on Thursday.

Police arrived at the office of Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, on Wednesday to take his statement, Kuala Lumpur police chief Zainuddin Ahmad was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

Finding him absent, officers seized books of his satirical cartoons, Zunar said by Twitter from London, where he was on a speaking engagement.

The cartoonist is being investigated under the 1948 Sedition Act, which prohibits stirring up hatred of the government or tensions between the country's ethnic and religious groups.

Shocking and outrageous

Among the confiscated books were copied of Zunar's latest compilation titled Pirates of the Carry-BN, a reference to long-time ruling party Barisan Nasional.

It consists of 130 colour cartoons satirising a range of issues from alleged electoral fraud to the unsolved death of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Human Rights Watch called the move "shocking and outrageous".

"There is absolutely no justification for this act of censorship," said Phil Robertson, a deputy director of the group.

Conviction under the Sedition Act carries a penalty of up to three years imprisonment or a fine of 5 000 ringgit ($1 600) or both.

Rights advocates have criticized its recent use by the government as a tool to stifle freedom of speech and political dissent.

This month, police detained human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen for two days under the legislation.

Read more on:    malaysia

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