RSF urges gov't to drop all charges against Zunar

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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) wants the authorities to drop all charges against political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque.

The Paris-based NGO also urged the government to stop using the Sedition Act to threaten and intimidate Zulkiflee - better known as Zunar - and other journalists.

“We urge the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all charges against this cartoonist and we urge the Malaysian authorities to stop using the Sedition Act to intimidate and threaten journalists,” RSF editor-in-chief Virginie Dangles said in a statement yesterday.

Malaysia is currently ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

The latest case involving Zunar saw him arrested during an event in Kuala Lumpur nearly two weeks ago. The event was held to raise funds for the cartoonist, who suffered losses after police confiscated his works in Penang three weeks ago.

A tweet posted on his account that night by his administrator states that Zunar was investigated under Section 124C of the Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.

Zunar said that he and four others who were also arrested during the event were released close to midnight, after being questioned for about six hours straight.

He claimed that the investigators had intentionally given him a hard time. At one point, Zunar said, the police threatened to strip him of his rights to his cartoons.

Zunar was arrested for sedition last month, for holding an exhibition on cartoons that allegedly insulted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Arrested for sedition

He was arrested under Section 504 of the Penal Code, which deals with intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

The cartoonist was nabbed by police after his exhibition in Komtar was thrashed by Penang Umno members led by state Youth chief Rafizal Abdul Rahim. Zunar was released from detention a day later.

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