RPK proposes Bloggers Defence FundPosted: May 10, 2008
Raja Petra is finally out of jail, although just on bail. THe charges of sedition are still on him, and he’s still going to have to face trial in October.
But he’s finally out, and his fingers can again return to the keyboard. Malaysia-Today will again be filled with his articles.
Of the RM30,000 that was collected to help post bail, only RM5,000 was used. And that money is of course going to be redundable later. And he has decided to keep all that money in the BLOGGERS DEFENCE FUND, used when a need should arise for a blogger who gets charged, fined etc. in the future.
But he’s not only SAYING that this is what he’ll do. He’s asking the bloggers, us, whether we think this is what should be done. He’s not deciding everything for himself, he’s referring to us, the people who walked with him. This is in pure spirit of Makkal Sakhti.
I say we do what he has proposed. What about you?
RPK has written his first piece about his days in the Sg Buloh detention facility, only one day after he was released. How’s that for efficiency?
When I arrived in Sungai Buloh Prison, something happened that put the entire prison on full alert. Sirul and Azilah, who were in the same block as me, Blok Damai, shouted for me to watch my back and that they will get me. I was quickly whisked out of the block. It seems they were angry that the Altantuya murder trial, which had disappeared from the radar screens, has now, again, been given the spotlight. Why should that upset them? Why the need for the Altantuya murder trial to disappear from the radar screens?
One of the Special Forces chaps told me to never trust anyone. Don’t even trust the men in uniform, not even if they wear this same uniform, he tugged on his shirt to emphasis the point. Your life here is worth a packet of tobacco. Prisoners will kill just for that. And Sirul (or was it Azilah?) is very intelligent, he added. He knows which prisoners can be bought and he has many on his payroll. He can always get someone to do his job for him.
Whenever I was brought out they made sure that Sirul and Azilah, and the other 18 or so police officers that are in their same block, were locked up. Once, when they brought me out, and someone in the walktie-talkie said that the two were in the hospital, they quickly locked me up and only brought me out again after the two were safely locked up. I could see that they were not merely trying to frighten me but were genuinely worried.
I made many friends in my very short stay in the Sungai Buloh Prison: the Indian chap who was on trial for kidnapping who kept peeping into my cell to ask whether I needed everything, the Indonesian transvestite across from my cell who kept calling me ‘sayang’ and offered to massage my aching back, the Chinese man on trial for money laundering who asked for my autograph, the air force pilot who searched all over prison for reading glasses so that I could read my books, and all the guards and Special Forces chaps who smiled and gave me the thumbs-up when I greeted them with ‘Makkal Sakhti’. And they all wanted just one thing. They wanted me home so that I can continue to write and so that they can continue to find out the truth as to what is happening in this country.
On the money collected thus far, if all you donors can agree to it, I am going to propose that the surplus be put into a BLOGGERS DEFENCE FUND so that any blogger who may in future suffer persecution from the powers-that-be will have financial support to stand and fight. The bail is of course refundable and can be put back into the fund for future use. And the fund can also be used for legal costs whenever we can’t find lawyers who will defend bloggers on a pro bono basis.
Go here to read more about it.
RPK is a good man. He may not be very tactful when he writes, but we all have things that we’re passionate about. And surely this is not something that should be charged with sedition.