Monday, February 2, 2015

Zunar should be hailed not suppressed, cartoon group tells Najib

Published: 2 February 2015 8:42 AMSatire cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque, better known as Zunar, was in London when police raided his office last week. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 2, 2015.
Satire cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque, better known as Zunar, was in London when police raided his office last week. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 2, 2015.
An international cartoonist group has criticised Putrajaya for suppressing the rights of Malaysian satire cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque, saying it should be promoting his talent instead.
In a letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday, Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) said that the world famous cartoonist, better known as Zunar, was being charged with crimes before his books were even released to the public.
"They are confiscated by the police through pre-emptive actions.
"Newspapers and journals have been warned off from publishing any of his individual cartoons," CRNI executive director Dr Robert Russell wrote in the letter.
Police on Thursday raided Zulkiflee's office and seized 149 copies of his books.
They were both the English and Bahasa Malaysia versions of the titles "Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar" and "Pirates of the Carry BN".
The artist had tweeted: "Police in my office, looking for me. But I currently in London. So they are taking all my books."
In a brief statement sent to the media, the cartoonist said the police officers had been led by ASP Lim Ah Heng, from the legal division of the criminal investigation department at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.
He said the confiscation of his books was made under the Printing Presses Act, Sedition Act and Penal Code.
CRNI pointed out that the police treatment of the cartoonist was against Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the Malaysian government is a signatory. 
Article 19 guarantees citizens the right to free expression without fear of recrimination or intimidating legal action.
The network also said that Zulkiflee was universally recognised in the political cartooning world and that thousands of human rights campaigners and fans followed his work.
"CRNI strongly objects to this illegal treatment of an important son of Malaysia.
"He should be  hailed by your government as an example of Malaysia's best and brightest," Russell added.
The network also urged Najib to assure the cartoonist's rights to free speech enshrined under the Federal Constitution. – February 2, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/zunar-should-be-hailed-not-suppressed-cartoon-group-tells-najib#sthash.naD0b7Ve.dpuf

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