Mkini journo arrested for sedition, quizzed for 9hrs

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Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone has been arrested under the Sedition Act over her interview with Penang executive councillor Phee Boon Poh.

She was released on police bail at 11.45pm, almost nine hours after she first arrived at the Northeast District police district headquarters for questioning at 3pm.

Loone will have to report back to the police district headquarters on Oct 3.

Her mobile phone was confiscated by police as part of the investigation.

OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid has earlier today confirmed the arrest.

According to Loone, police took her fingerprints and asked her to sign a document putting her under arrest.

"But I am allowed to leave on police bail with a surety," she said earlier today.

In an immediate response, Malaysiakini chief editor Fathi Aris Omar condemned the arrest.

"The investigation on Loone is downright harassment of media personnel who are merely doing their job as journalists.

"There is really no need for such lengthy interrogations or even to name Loone as a suspect," he said.

 

" Malaysiakini views this as yet another form of intimidation in a long series of attack on press freedom.

"Loone was not only interrogated, her mobile phone was confiscated. This is truly excessive and uncalled for."

Loone and the online news portal are being investigated under Section 4(1)(c) of the 1948 Sedition Act for publishing an interview she did with Phee, which is deemed seditious, when he was in police custody early on Monday, on his role in the state's Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS).

Phee also questioned

Loone said that she was contacted by one ASP Jamal to give her statement at 11.30 last night.

Phee ( right ), the Sungai Puyu assemblyperson, told Malaysiakini that he too would be questioned by police today.

The police action comes in wake of 10 reports lodged on Tuesday on the news report by Perkasa and 13 others who call themselves ‘The Coalition of Penang Malay Representatives’.

The group, led by Penang Perkasa Youth chief Mohd Rizuad Azudin, called on the police to investigate and initiate legal action against Loone and Malaysiakini for defaming the force in the article headlined “ Disoal siasat selama 4 jam, dakwa dilayan seperti 'penjenayah' ” ('Questioned for four hours, treated like 'criminal'), published on Monday.

The article is the Bahasa Malaysia translation of Loone's article in English , headlined 'Exco man grilled for four hours, treated like 'criminal',' which was also published on the same day.

'I was only doing my job'

The article is based on an interview Loone conducted with Phee about 1.30am on Monday while he was at the Jalan Patani police station.

"I was only doing my job as a journalist. I called Phee and he responded to my call.

"I asked him a few questions about his experience at the police station, and he gave me his answers.

"I wrote what he said, there was nothing more to that," said Loone before going to the police station.

In the article, Phee relates his experiences during interrogation, adding that the police treated him well, and that they were "victims of circumstances", like himself.

Phee, 62, was detained for 24 hours on Sunday. He is chairperson of PPS, which has been declared illegal by the police as it is not registered with the Registrar of Societies.

He and 155 PPS members were arrested after taking part in the Merdeka Parade at the Esplanade on Sunday, and were released on police bail on Monday.

They are being investigated under Section 43 of the 1966 Societies Act for being involved in illegal activities, including secret societies.

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