UPDATE: Zunar was released from Dang Wangi police lockup on Friday, February 13th at 10:40 AM Malaysia time. THANK YOU to all who participated in this action for your advocacy. Charges remain outstanding against Zunar. Please go here to advocate that the government drops the case against this artist.
Release Political Cartoonist Zunar.
Zunar, whose full name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque and is one of Malaysia’s most famous cartoonists, was arrested on February 10 after posting a political cartoon to Twitter. The cartoon was critical of the government’s sentencing of the country’s most prominent opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim to a five-year prison term for sodomy, and preceded the underground release of a new book of political cartoons by Zunar.
Only days before the arrest, Malaysian police raided Zunar’s office and confiscated 150 books. The charge of sedition against him stems from an outdated law from British colonial rule which criminalizes any conduct with a “seditious tendency” or that may bring “hatred or contempt” against the ruler or government. This is the second time that the cartoonist has been detained under this law, and is a continuation of the intimidation he has been subjected to by state authorities. In total, Zunar maintains that more than 1,000 copies of his work, most of which have been banned, have been stolen by the government.
Join The Voice Project in calling for Malaysia to immediately release Zunar and end the systematic intimidation of activist-artists. Applying a law created to prevent colonial insurrection to a political cartoonist in order to deny an individual his universal human right to freedom of expression has no place in the modern world.