Malaysia arrests Anwar's daughter for sedition: Opposition party
Malaysian police have arrested opposition politician Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, for sedition over a speech she made in parliament, her party said on Monday.
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police have arrested opposition politician Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, for sedition over a speech she made in parliament, her party said on Monday.
In the speech last week, Nurul Izzah, a 34-year-old member of parliament, referred to a February ruling by the country`s highest court upholding the sodomy conviction of her father, the biggest political threat to Malaysia`s government.
"This police investigation is illegal, unconstitutional and a serious interference with the rights and privileges of parliament," N. Surendran, Anwar`s lawyer, and a member of his People`s Justice Party, said in a statement.
It is unclear what specific words the police felt were seditious. The authorities have not issued a statement. Parliament officials did not answer telephone calls to seek comment.
Malaysia`s Sedition Act, which dates from British colonial times, criminalizes speech with an undefined "seditious tendency". Critics have said the government has used the law to silence dissent, preventing open debate and discussion.
The government says the law is necessary to clamp down on inflammatory actions that could stir ethnic or religious tension.
Rights group Human Rights Watch urged Malaysia not to deploy the sedition law against opposition politicians, community activists, and others who dared to speak out.
"Prime Minister Najib Razak 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," said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the group`s Asia division.
Nurul Izzah was summoned to a police station to make a statement and then arrested. She is expected to spend the night in lockup until a remand hearing on Tuesday.
Her father, Anwar, is now serving a five-year sentence following a highly publicised court proceeding amid widespread perceptions that the prosecution was motivated by political vengeance, although the government has denied interference.