UPDATE: Zunar is following police instructions pertaining to his recent arrests in both Penang and Kuala Lumpur while legal challenges to the charges against him continue.
As instructed, reported myself at the police station in Penang. Issue: Cartoon Exhibition. Law: Sedition. Have to report back on 29 Jan 17 pic.twitter.com/p8c6hVY11d
— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) December 27, 2016
UPDATE: Zunar has been released and wrote to supporters as follows:
Today, 17 dec 2016, I was arrested again by the police during my fund-raising program with the fans. The purpose of this fund-raising is to recover the loss that I had with my previous exhibition where twenty (20) of my paintings were confiscated by the police and taken into their custody, causing losses of estimated USD10,000.00.
Today the police also confiscated more than 1,000 books which involved twelve (12) titles, causing another losses of estimated USD10,000.00. Two of my assistants were arrested together with two fans. We were taken to the police station and investigated under Section 124 of the Penal Code for being detrimental to parliamentary democracy, carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
I was questioned for almost 6 hours and released under bail at midnight. I would have to report back to the police station on the 30 Dec 2016.
According to the police, they will apply a law to ban all my books.
This is my second arrest within three (3) weeks. On 25th Nov 2016, I was arrested under the Sedition Act.
This adds up to the long list of harrassments and intimidation by the Malaysian government to me.
The pattern is directly proportionate to the increased level of corruption and injustices in Malaysia. Corrupt government fears cartoons.
I would like to point out my stand: talent is not a gift, but a responsibility. It is my responsibility as a cartoonist to expose corruption and injustices. Do I fear jail? Yes, but responsibility is bigger that fear. You can ban my books, you can ban my cartoons, but you cannot ban my mind. I will keep drawing until the last drop of my ink.
The police comment about a blanket ban on all books is of particular and grave concern and taken together with the incidents mentioned above and detailed below it seems clear that the Malaysian state is now intent upon the destruction of Zunar’s career.
Malaysian cartoonist Zunar’s Twitter feed confirms that he was placed under arrest during a public event today in Kuala Lumpur.
Admin: Zunar arrested 4 pm today. 1000 books confiscated.lost abt RM30k. investigate un section 124 (C) Detrimental to Parliament democracy pic.twitter.com/r84rAwEREG
— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) December 17, 2016
Zunar is contesting legal battles on multiple fronts and had been in the midst of a fund-raising Saturday afternoon tea party with supporters, hence the additional seizure of books worth about $6.5k, a clear attempt to deny him income and in itself a well-worn tactic employed against him by agents of the state over the last decade.
As we have reported of late, Zunar is currently unable to leave Malaysia, was placed under police arrest at the end of November after an exhibition in Penang was disrupted by pro-government protestors and he is preparing for a court appearance to challenge the Sedition Act, the ultimate weapon of the Malaysian government which is seeking to imprison him for the rest of his natural life.
Zunar’s recent woes precipitated a statement of solidarity from several of the world’s leading editorial cartoonists; this latest instance of harassment will only redouble the outrage felt by his colleagues. One again CRNI calls for his immediate release and safety in which to continue speaking truth to power.