Release of Malaysian Blogger Welcomed

 

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes a decision by Malaysia’s High Court to release unconditionally

online journalist Raja Petra Kamarudin,

who was detained for two months under Malaysia’s draconian Internal

Security Act (ISA). The court ruled his detention was unlawful.

 

Raja Petra, who has run the popular political website Malaysia

Today for two years, was arrested on

September 12, and released on

November 7.

 

An order signed by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar on September 22

extended his detention for two years on the grounds that his writing allegedly

posed a threat to “national security”.

 

Malaysia Today, which has broken a string of controversial

stories including a series of accusations against senior government members, was also temporarily shut down by government

officials.

The

High Court accepted the blogger’s application for a writ of habeas corpus seeking his release. The court ruled that the grounds for the detention order

did not fall under the scope of Section 8 (1) of the ISA and was therefore

unlawful.

“The application of a law that allows for the indefinite

detention of a person without trial contravenes the International Covenant on

Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). To detain a journalist in this manner and

on the basis of his writing is an attempt to gag dissident voices,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

said.

 

“The IFJ welcomes the release of Raja Petra as a

significant step forward by Malaysia’s

courts to challenge executive power and to stand by the democratic principles

of open and free expression for all.”

 

The IFJ calls on Malaysia’s

judiciary to regard the ruling as a precedent for challenging the validity of

the ISA’s use as a tool for clamping down on independent journalism and free

expression in Malaysia.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide