Malaysian police free Anwar`s daughter on bail

The eldest daughter of Malaysia`s jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was freed on police bail Tuesday after being held overnight for alleged sedition, as supporters and the United States condemned her detention.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 17, 2015, 12:31 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: The eldest daughter of Malaysia`s jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was freed on police bail Tuesday after being held overnight for alleged sedition, as supporters and the United States condemned her detention.

Nurul Izzah, 34, a member of parliament and popular public figure, confirmed her release by phone to AFP.

Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Departmennt chief Zainuddin Ahmad said Nurul was freed on bail at 12.30 pm (0430 GMT) after being held overnight in a police detention centre, where some 500 of her supporters held a candlelight vigil.

"I was kept alone in the lockup last night. Only this morning they questioned me for 20 minutes regarding the speech I made in parliament. I am sure they will charge me for sedition," she told AFP.

Nurul was arrested for sedition after she last week read out in parliament portions of a statement by Anwar, now in prison, in which he questioned the independence of Malaysia`s judiciary.

The United States had said Monday that it was "deeply concerned" by the detention of Nurul.

Nurul, a mother of two children, became the latest nabbed in a sedition crackdown that has seen dozens investigated, charged or convicted over the past year, including several top opposition politicians.

Anwar was convicted on February 10 of sodomising a former male aide in 2008 and sentenced to five years in jail.

Anwar, who denies the charge, calls it a "political conspiracy" by the coalition in power since 1957, designed to thwart steady opposition gains in recent elections.

Prime Minister Najib Razak promised in 2012 to scrap the British colonial-era Sedition Act amid growing pressure for reform.

But after a 2013 election setback, government critics have increasingly been targeted by the law. In November Najib said the law would be retained and even strengthened.