Malaysian police have arrested the daughter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in connection with a speech criticising the arrest of her father and for alleged sedition, Al Jazeera has learned.

Nurul Izzah Anwar, a member of parliament and vice president of the opposition coalition, was arrested on Monday at a police station in Kuala Lumpur, according to Fahmi Fadzil, an opposition spokesman.

It was not immediately clear if Nurul Izzah has been officially charged, but she told Al Jazeera's Brian Donald earlier on Monday that she was being investigated for sedition.

Nurul Izzah came to the Dang Wangi police station earlier on Monday to give her statement in connection with the People's Justice Party rally on March 7, and to answer the accusations.

In a speech in parliament and at an opposition rally, Nurul Izzah criticised the judiciary for sentencing her father, Anwar, to a five-year jail term for sodomy .

Fahmi said it is unknown how long Nurul Izzah would be detained.

 

In a statement posted on Facebook, N Surendran, another member of parliament defended Nurul Izzah's speech.

"This police investigation is illegal, unconstitutional and a serious interference with the rights and privileges of Parliament," Surendran said.

In a statement, Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch condemned the arrest as an effort "to stifle free speech and crimininalise dialogue."

"The Prime Minister Najib and his government are shamefully using the Sedition Act like an axe to hack down opposition politicians, community activists, and any others who dare speak their minds," he said.

"Prime Minister Najib needs to recognize that every sedition arrest of an opposition political leader is another step towards the destruction of rights-respecting democracy in Malaysia, and bring this campaign of abuse to an end." 

On February 10, Malaysia's highest court upheld Anwar's conviction on sodomy charges and his five-year prison sentence in a case he and his supporters have denounced as a fabrication.

Anwar was accused of sodomising a male aide in 2008, but was acquitted by the High Court in 2012.

However, the Appeals Court overturned the acquittal in March last year and sentenced him to five years in jail. He has said the charges were trumped up to kill his political career.

Many said that Anwar is the most potent threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose party has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957.

Source: Al Jazeera