A famous political cartoonist has been arrested for sedition over a post on Twitter, wherein he criticised Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial. Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque was arrested on Tuesday night, a few hours after Ibrahim was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, has a history of making cartoons that pinpoint the tyranny and corruption of the government of Malaysia. When Ibrahim was arrested in the politically charged sodomy case, Zunar, 52, suggested in his Twitter posts that Malaysia's judiciary had bowed to the country's authoritarian regime.
Zunar's wife Fazlina Rosley revealed that he was arrested for sedition over the series of Twitter posts following Ibrahim's arrest. "Of course this is a form of intimidation, with the purpose that society does not question the authorities," Rosley was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.
She went on to add that he would not be intimidated by the government's attempts to silence him. "Zunar will not bow down to this intimidation. He will continue to criticise even if he remains in jail," she said.
Following Zunar's arrest, even the Human Rights Watch said that Prime Minister Najib Razak's government was "turning peaceful criticism into a criminal act that threatens the state".
Cartoon Zunar: PM Najib is the judge! pic.twitter.com/3FbAZQwxVm
— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) February 10, 2015
Sodomy, even between two consenting adults, is considered a punishable offence in Malayasia. Ibrahim has repeatedly denied allegations that he was involved in such an act.
However, according his trial, seen by many as Razak's political conspiracy to thwart any opposition against his government, Ibrahim was proved guilty of sodomising Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a worker in his opposition campaign office.