Drop charges against RPK and Syed Akbar Ali

I’ve just received this in my email from SUARAM, an appeal to the government of the day to drop the charges against Raja Petra and Syed Akbar Ali. For those who don’t know, Syed Akbar Ali is the other blogger who got charged at the same time with RPK, also under the Seditions Act.

Three days ( 6 May 2008 ) after World Press Freedom Day (which fell on May 3), Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and former banker Syed Akbar Ali have become the first Internet citizens to be charged with sedition.

Both of them pleaded not guilty to the charges. Kuala Lumpur Sessions court granted bail for Syed Akbar Ali at RM 3000 in one surety pending hearing on 10 June 2008 , while the Shah Alam Judge granted bail for Raja Petra at RM5000 in one surety and fixed 6 Oct 2008 for hearing.

Suaram strongly condemns the charges against Raja Petra and Syed Akbar. In our view the sedition charge is malicious and without merit. It is also politically motivated and aimed at silencing one of the most eloquent, dedicated and uncompromising voices speaking in defense of the rights of Malaysians and against the abuse of power stemming from the highest level of government and authority. We stress that a draconian law such as the Sedition Act has no place in a democratic society.

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They have also prepared a sample letter that we can all send to the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister to show our support for the duo, and our stand against this unfair charge. You can download the sample letter here.

Otherwise, we could all just flood their email inboxes with requests to drop the charges. For the PM, the email add is: ppm at pmo.gov.my

For the AG, the email add is: ag at agc.gov.my

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To be honest, I don’t know to what extent these letters to the authorities might be. Thay may render totally irrelevant. After all, they’re all “so busy” with their “work”, that they don’t have time to deal with us rakyat. Oh wait, I thought that was their job.

But though little it may seem, I think that we should at least do the little that we can. We can’t all be RPKs. We can’t all afford to put our lives and livelihood on the line. But surely we all want to see a fair and just Malaysia that respects our basic human rights.

As they say: sikit sikit, lama-lama menjadi bukit.

And since we’re at the topic for human rights in Malaysia, I’d like to nudge the readers (you) again about the Freedom of Information Act petition that is being set up by BENAR. Go sign it if you haven’t. We all want to see a Malaysia where information does not come with the price of going to jail.

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UPDATE:
RPK has been released on bail this morning at 9.30 am. The Star has this to report:

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin was released on bail at 9.30 am Friday.

His wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, posted bail of RM5,000 on Thursday after her husband agreed to it.

Raja Petra had declined to meet visitors, including his wife, since Tuesday, when he was taken to Sg Buloh prison after refusing to post bail.

Marina finally managed to persuade her husband yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after he was released, Raja Petra said he had declined to meet anyone as there was not much to be done except await his trial, which is scheduled for October.

However, prison authorities urged him to seek release due to concerns over his personal safety in prison, he claimed.

Raja Petra also said he had not eaten anything since he was taken to prison on Tuesday.



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