KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The High Court here today ruled that the arrest and detention of cartoonist Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaqur, popularly known as Zunar, by police two years ago was lawful.

However, Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said the seizure of 66 of his books and a painting was unlawful.

The court ordered that Zunar’s books that were seized be returned to him.

He ordered the books and the painting to be returned to the cartoonist.In the judgment, Vazeer said the authorities had failed to provide evidence to substantiate the seizure of the books, adding that the law did not allow for the materials to be kept for a long time.

“The continued confiscation of the books will affect the plaintiff’s right to his livelihood,” he added.

Vazeer also allowed special damages sought by the plaintiff on the seized books, the amount to be assessed by the registrar.

In the suit filed on June 15 last year, Zulkiflee and his company, Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd, had named ASP A. Arikrishna, ASP Marina Hashim, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, the Home Ministry and the Malaysian government as defendants.

In his statement of claim, Zulkiflee said a police team led by Arikrishna raided his office at 4pm on September 24, 2010, arrested him and seized 66 books titled “Cartoon-0-Phobia” as well as a cartoon drawing.

He claimed that he was then taken to several police stations within Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and remanded overnight at the KL International Airport police station for alleged incitement.

He questioned the basis for his arrest, remand and seizure of his works, arguing that the actions were illegal and unconstitutional, and aimed at sabotaging the launch of his book.

He was represented by N. Surendran while Senior Federal Counsel Nor Hisham Ismail represented the defendants. — Bernama