Malaysia police release editors detained for sedition

Journalists were held after publishing article discussing royal opposition to the introduction of Islamic penal law.

Malaysia arrests journalists for sedition
The Malaysian Insider journalists were among more than a hundred arrested this month under the sedition law [Malaysian Insider]

Malaysian police have released three journalists detained for running an article discussing royal opposition to amendments to the constitution that would enable Islamic penal law to be implemented.

Three editors from the publication Malaysia Insider, Lionel Morais, Zulkifli Sulong, and Amin Iskandar, left the Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night.

The men had been held after authorities raided the offices of the Malaysian Insider late on Monday. The trio had been charged with sedition earlier on Tuesday.

Publisher Jahabar Sadiq and chief executive Ho Kat Tat, were also arrested on Tuesday, a lawyer for the website told Al Jazeera. They still remain in custody. 

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan tweeted that Ho and Jahabar will have their remand hearing at 10:30am on Wednesday, according to The Strai Times, a Singapore-based daily.

Ambiga Sreenevasan, told Al Jazeera that the arrests could not be justified and called the law used to hold the men archaic.

“The government is using the law on sedition to intimidate those who criticise it, including civil society groups, the opposition, and now journalists,” Sreenevasan said.

“There is no scope within the law to protect journalists, there are exceptions but the government can use it selectively to go after whoever they want.”

The offending piece had said Malaysia’s monarchy had rejected a proposal to amend a federal law that could allow the use of Islamic punishment, or hudud, in Malaysia.

More than 100 people have been arrested in an unprecedented crackdown on anti-government voices under the sedition law in the past month, according to the Reuters news agency. 

Those arrested include politicians, academics and lawyers, and most recently journalists. 

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters