A concerted effort to control the discussion
Kuala-Lampur based cartoonist Zunar, whose given name is Zulkiflee Awar Ulhaque, is a frequent contributor to the news website Malaysiakini and the author of several volumes of political cartoons. He has come under fire for his criticisms of the government a number of times, with the police recently raiding his home and confiscating copies of two of his books.
Despite the legal harassment, Zunar has not kept quiet. Soon after the Anwar verdict was announced, he tweeted:
Cartoon Zunar: PM Najib is the judge! pic.twitter.com/3FbAZQwxVm— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) February 10, 2015
According to Agence France-Presse he also wrote, "Those in the black robes were proud when passing sentence. The rewards from political masters must be lucrative."
Zunar was arrested at his home later in the evening of 10 February and was kept in custody overnight. A Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court Judge granted a court order on 11 February remanding Zunar for three days while police carried out an investigation, according to reports. If convicted under the Sedition Act, Zunar faces up to three years in prison, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Zunar's arrest was condemned by ARTICLE 19 as an attack on free expression "and an attempt to silence legitimate criticism of the government online as well as offline."