Open letter from the cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque)
I will be charged under The Sedition Act on Friday, 3 April, 2015.
My lawyer had just informed me that the police had served a notice to charge me to court under The Sedition Act over my tweet posting dated 10th of February 2015 on Anwar Ibrahim ruling. The charge will be proceeded on Friday, 3rd of April, 2015, 9am at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Jalan Duta Kuala Lumpur.
The charge is under Section 4(1) C of the Sedition Act with carries the maximum penalty of three years in jail, a RM5,000 fine [$1,365 US], or both. Previously I was arrested and detained for three days for the same case. During the detention, the police also opened up separate investigation on my cartoon books, Pirate of Carry BN and Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar.
I am sure this prosecution is about “vendetta against cartoons.” Nevertheless, I have been advised by my lawyer not to comment about the case in detail.
The use of Sedition Act came as no surprise for me as in a corrupt regime, the truth is seditious. Najib’s regime is mentally corrupted and morally bankrupted.
I would like to reiterate that the use of Sedition Act will not silence me. I will keep exposing the corruptions and wrong-doings of the BN government.
The “Fight Through cartoons” will carry on with more fire. I will keep drawing until the last drop of my ink.
I am represented by Latheefa Koya.
1 April 2015
Message from CRNI director, Dr. Robert “Bro” Russell
CRNI demands that the government of Malaysia immediately stop all proceedings against Zunar and all other journalists and human rights workers using the outdated and colonialist inspired Sedition Act.
The government of Malaysia makes a mockery of its own constitution as it undermines the judicial system and the honor of the judges who continue to work within it.
CRNI, along with thousands of cartoon journalists all over the world, condemn this action against Mr. Zunar.
We implore the world’s cartoon journalists to publish, post and tweet (@ #zunar) cartoons in support of Zunar and critical of a Malaysian government presently intent on suppressing journalistic free speech.
We demand that all charges against Mr. Zunar be immediately dropped.
— Robert “Bro” Russell
CRNI Executive Director
Zunar 101, from Zunar’s files
- On 6 November 2014, three of Zunar’s assistants were arrested and taken to the police station for selling his latest cartoon books.
- On 20 November, Zunar was investigated at Dang Wangi Police Station in Kuala Lumpur under the “Classified Crime Section” involving three different laws — Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act and Penal Code, after two separate police reports were made against him.
- A few days following, the webmaster, who had been managing Zunar’s website and online bookstore, was called by the police for investigation under the Sedition Act.
- On 28 January, 2015, Zunar’s office was raided while he is on speaking tour in London. More than 150 books were confiscated. The raid was made under Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act and Penal Code. (This was in addition to more than 500 copies of Zunar’s books that had been earlier confiscated in two separate raids to his office by the authorities.)
- The action was extended to printers, vendors and bookstores around the country — their places were raided and they were warned not to print and sell Zunar’s books in future.
- The police has subsequently asked the online payment gateway that handles his book transactions to disclose the list of customers who have purchased his books through official website, zunar.my.
- For the record, this is Zunar’s second investigation under The Sedition Act for cartooning — the first was in September 2010, when he was arrested and detained in the lock-up for two days. In addition, five of his books titled Perak Darul Kartun, 1 Funny Malaysia, Isu Dalam Kartun Vol. 1, 2 and 3 were banned by the Home Minister from 2009 to 2010.
- In 2011, Zunar was conferred “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award” by the Cartoonist Rights Network International