Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Malaysian Blogger Charged with Sedition

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) A 58-year-old blogger and editor of Malaysia Today, Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin, is scheduled to stand trial in October for an alleged seditious article he posted on his website.

Additionally, a visitor to Raja Petra's blog, author Syed Akbar Ali, is charged with the same offense for a comment he wrote. Therefore, not only is the content of a blog post considered seditious but a comment on a blog is also.

The alleged seditious writings pertain to the October 2006 murder of pretty, young Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, whose mutilated body (remains were blown up with hand grenades) was found in a jungle clearing adjacent to a Kuala Lumpur suburb.

Altantuya Shaariibuu

Altantuya's former lover and head of a political think tank, Abdul Razak Baginda, 46, and two bodyguards for Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak were accused of committing the murder. Three Malaysian police officers were also implicated as having a hand in the crime.
The article: "Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell", which was posted on April 25 on his website, contained allegations involving people whose names were given as well as events that allegedly took place just before Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder.

Meanwhile, author Syed Akbar Ali was charged under same section for a comment he wrote in Raja Petra’s article titled Malaysia’s Organised Crime Syndicate: All Roads Lead to Putrajaya. His comments included a diatribe against the Kaabah, Arabs and Malays.
With respect to the subject article, it appears that Raja Petra's only crime is that he was extremely critical of and alleges corruption in the investigation and judicial proceedings of the Altantuya murder case. Apparently, accusing the government of corruption is seditious.

The post documented the contention that the Prime Minister of Malaysia has withheld evidence in the murder proceedings and it characterized the whole process as a corrupt kangaroo court. Understandably, public interest in the case is high and, at the same time, friction between Mongolia and Malaysia has emerged.

In a nutshell, the accused killer(s) has close ties to the highest levels of government and political corruption allegedly influences the prosecution and the judiciary. With jumps and starts including replacement of a judge and sickness of the prosecutor, the murder case continues in court.

Raja Petra pleaded not guilty today and has reportedly refused to post bail set at RM5,000 ($1,600).

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

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