Another case comes to a happy ending for a cartoonist who has suffered years of severe persecution by his country’s government. Yesterday he was acquitted of the nine charges of sedition he faced.
Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque is the name of the Malaysian cartoonist who signs as “Zunar“.
Zunar has been a political cartoonist for more than two decades, much of which time he has suffered persecution, threats, censorship, book seizures, arbitrary arrests and fines by the Malaysian government.
The government seized Zunar’s books and magazines, which also contained work by other cartoonists. Printing houses that printed his titles were searched for copies and distributors were warned not to sell his publications. Zunar was arrested and charged with sedition. The cartoonist filed lawsuits over his arrest and the seizure of his books and magazines.
Cover of “Komplot Penjarakan Anwar” (Envelope Anwar Ibrahim) for which Zunar was investigated
Chronology of the Zunar case
For 45 minutes he was asked questions about his cartoon book “Komplot Penjarakan Anwar” for which he is being investigated on charges of a sedition offence.
In 2015, he was was charged with 9 counts of seditionzunar, was facing up to 43 years in prison.
28 January 2015 – While he was at a conference in London, police raided his office and confiscated more than 150 books.
14 February 2015 Hundreds of copies of his book Ros in Kangkong in Land are confiscated by the police directly from the publisher’s lorry as it was being transported to the venue of his book launch.
17 October 2016 – Zunar is detained at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, banned by the government from leaving the country.
In November 2016 he was again targeted by the courts for criticising in a tweet the 2015 imprisonment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy.
On Friday 26 November 2016, an exhibition of the author’s work was cancelled because of the attack by protesters pro-government.
A day after this incident , Zunar was arrested again under sedition law and released on bail shortly after.
On 17 December 2016 re-arrested along with four other people and 1000 copies of his books were confiscated. He was released on bail hours later.
11 April 2017in a ruling by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court ruled that Zunar would receive compensation of 18,000 Ringit (about €3,800) for special damages for the seizure of 66 books and a painting. The court also ordered that his books be returned to him.
August 2017, Zunar sues the police for illegal detention and seizure of his books and T-shirts.
May 2018after almost two years of being unable to leave Malaysia, Zunar succeeded in having the travel ban lifted following the change of government in the country. On 30 July he was acquitted of all charges.
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