Police release defiant Malaysian cartoonist: Lawyer

Malaysian police have released a controversial political cartoonist after arresting him under a harsh sedition law, his lawyer said, following an outcry from a rights group.

Updated: Sep 26, 2010, 23:27 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police have
released a controversial political cartoonist after arresting
him under a harsh sedition law, his lawyer said today,
following an outcry from a rights group.

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque -- better known as Zunar --
works for the news website Malaysiakini and uses cartoons to
illustrate controversial issues such as police shootings and
the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

"Zunar was released late Saturday on bail," lawyer
Fadiah Nadwa Fikri told AFP. "He has to report back to the
police on October 7. Zunar is being investigated under the
Sedition Act."

He was arrested by police Friday just hours before
he was due to launch his new book, "Cartoon-O-Phobia". Police
also seized 70 copies of the book.

Despite being held by police for about 24 hours and
facing a possible jail sentence if convicted, Zunar said his
brief incarceration has energised him to draw more cartoons
about Prime Minister Najib Razak and Najib`s government.

"I see my arrest as an attempt to stop me from
drawing. But I will continue to draw. The arrest has made me
more determined than ever to draw cartoons on Najib and his
cabinet," he told a news agency.

S Arulchelvan, a member of the rights group Voice
of the Malaysian People, had criticised the arrest as an abuse
of power and said it was an attempt to sabotage Zunar`s book
launch.

The 80-page "Cartoon-O-Phobia" has a caricature of
Najib`s wife on its front cover and contains cartoons that
touch on numerous controversial issues.

PTI