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Sep 26, 2010


Defiant cartoonist released

Zunar (above) who is being investigated under the Sedition Act, was released late Saturday on bail. — PHOTO: AP

KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIAN police have released a controversial political cartoonist after arresting him under a harsh sedition law, his lawyer said on Sunday, following an outcry from a rights group.

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – works for the news website Malaysiakini and uses cartoons to illustrate controversial issues such as police shootings and the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

‘Zunar was released late Saturday on bail,’ lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri told AFP. ‘He has to report back to the police on October 7. Zunar is being investigated under the Sedition Act.’

He was arrested by police on Friday just hours before he was due to launch his new book, ‘Cartoon-O-Phobia’. Police also seized 70 copies of the book. Despite being held by police for about 24 hours and facing a possible jail sentence if convicted, Zunar said his brief incarceration has energised him to draw more cartoons about Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government.

‘I see my arrest as an attempt to stop me from drawing. But I will continue to draw. The arrest has made me more determined than ever to draw cartoons on Najib and his cabinet,’ he told AFP.

S. Arulchelvan, a member of the rights group Voice of the Malaysian People, had criticised the arrest as an abuse of power and said it was an attempt to sabotage Zunar’s book launch. The 80-page ‘Cartoon-O-Phobia’ has a caricature of Mr Najib’s wife on its front cover and contains cartoons that touch on numerous controversial issues. — AFP