Lawyer cries abuse as cartoonist Zunar remanded three days for sedition probe


(Malay Mail Online) – Police today secured a three-day remand order for cartoonist Zunar to aid in a sedition investigation over a Twitter post on the judiciary, his lawyer Melissa Sasidaran said.

Melissa said the remand order was “excessive” and “unnecessary” as the police could have completed their investigations by today.

“We argued it is an excessive application and what the magistrate ordered for, three days, is also excessive, because statement taking can be done today,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today on the order granted by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court judge Mohd Isa Md Nor.

Melissa said the police today sought for a court order to remand Zunar or Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque for the maximum four days by saying they needed to record his statement, take his fingerprints and photograph.

But she pointed out that the police had said they would be taking Zunar to the federal police headquarters Bukit Aman today to record his statement.

“For this offence, the police have basically everything they need. They have got the tweet from his Twitter account and they have also taken away his phone for investigation purposes. So what more?” she asked, confirming that the police have not seized any additional items from Zunar at this point of time.

Confirming that her client was arrested at around 9pm last night and brought to the Dang Wangi police station, Melissa claimed Zunar’s offer to cooperate and set an appointment to record his statement was turned down by the police.

“Since he was arrested last night until this morning’s remand hearing, they never did anything. They could have taken all the statement and fingerprints and photo but they did not. This whole application is not just excessive but wholly unnecessary,” she said, confirming that Zunar spent the night in the Dang Wangi police station’s lock-up.

While Zunar is set to be released on Saturday when the remand order expires, Melissa said she was unable to confirm if he would be released or remanded further.

According to Melissa, the police can apply twice for a remand order, with four days being the maximum period allowed for the first application for such an offence, with police allowed to ask for a maximum three days remand period for the second application.

Melissa will accompany Zunar later when he gives his statement to the police for the probe under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948.

Yesterday afternoon, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar directed the police through Twitter to track down and arrest Zunar over his tweet that mentioned the judiciary and political masters.

Other than the cartoonist, Khalid also ordered police to investigate DAP MP Nga Kor Ming and PKR MP Rafizi Ramli for sedition, both for tweets on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction.

Putrajaya had previously pledged to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 that critics say is used to stifle political opposition and dissent, but later announced that it will be retained and expanded instead.

The Federal Court yesterday upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that had reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, also sentencing him to five years’ jail.