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Malaysia Frees "Anti-Islamic" Blogger 53

Posted by timothy
from the how-merciful-of-them dept.
quarterbuck writes "The Malaysian blogger who was under arrest on sedition charges has been freed by the courts. Raja Petra Kamarudin's comments were interpreted by the government as being anti-Islam and anti-government; he was arrested under Malaysia's Internal Security Act. Now, a court has ruled that the government was overstepping its limits in what is being called a landmark ruling."
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Malaysia Frees "Anti-Islamic" Blogger

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  • Raja Petra's blog [m2day.org]. Less "blog" and more "discussion site", I guess.

    Really, though, I'm not too sure how relevant the article is to Slashdot - how many countries have an Internal Security Act that allows the government to detain anyone, without trial, for as long as it wants? And among countries that do - both Malaysia's and Singapore's governments reaffirmed their intention to retain the acts this year, so it's not going to go away soon (the opposition in M'sia is a coalition that includes the radical Isla
    • by solweil (1168955)
      >how many countries have an Internal Security Act that allows the >government to detain anyone, without trial, for as long as it wants? I guess you meant this as a sort of negative rhetorical question, but actually most countries have a law approaching this.
      • Re:Blogger's blog (Score:4, Interesting)

        by aproposofwhat (1019098) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @04:30PM (#25689397)

        Apart from Malaysia, Britain's probably the worst - luckily the Neues Arbeit administration was stopped from extending detention to 42 days from 28, but guess what?

        The very next day, Wacqui Jacqui Schmidt (our truly imbecilic Home Secretary) tabled legislation that would allow 42 days to be voted for by the House of Commons, "in an emergency".

        Even places like Turkey restrict detention without charge or trial to 7 days - why is my country different?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Seakip18 (1106315)

          Even places like Turkey restrict detention without charge or trial to 7 days - why is my country different?

          Because, probably like my country, they need that much time to work through the bureaucratic gridlock that is figuring out how to proceed with such ambiguous charges. I mean, you have a murderer, you know you gotta produce evidence, time, place, etc. You know what you need to charge him and keep him in your hands.

          With this ambiguous new crime of "terrorism", it's too broad to define what you need to "nail'em" and get your desired outcome. You got a lot of circumstantial evidence probably, not a lot of previ

          • Nope - even for terrorism charges in Turkey, it's still 7 days.

            • by Seakip18 (1106315)

              Yikes. Confusing Nouns! I meant that whatever country the poster lived in. Not necces. Turkey. Sorry about that.

              • Unfortunately, I live in Britain, and have seen our civil liberties under attack from the idiocracy that is New Labour ever since before 11/9/01.

                The 28 days was an increase over the (IIRC) 14 days that was voted on every year in Parliament, and was seen as adequate for fighting IRA terrorism - there is no sensible argument for more than the original 14 days, but the fear-mongering plays well with the press, so New Labour assiduously pursue extensions to the detention period.

                One day, we (the British people)

          • by Lost Race (681080)
            42 days is just the next click up on the ratchet from 28. After that will be 90 days, then 180, then they'll probably shoot the moon and go for "indefinitely". Then they'll broaden the definition of "terrorism" to include pedophilia, tax evasion, speeding, littering, etc.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              Well, speeding causes more deaths in the UK every year than terrorism has in the last decade - roughly 6-12% (depending on the source) of fatal accidents are related to excessive speed, and at around 3000 per year, that gives between 180 and 360 deaths per year.

              Even the lower limit is roughly 3 times the number of people killed in terror attacks in the UK in the last 10 years, including the 'Real IRA' Armargh bombing.

              And don't get me started on those bastard litterbugs...

              • by Dutch Gun (899105)

                Well, speeding causes more deaths in the UK every year than terrorism has in the last decade - roughly 6-12% (depending on the source) of fatal accidents are related to excessive speed, and at around 3000 per year, that gives between 180 and 360 deaths per year.

                Everyone in modern society more or less has to accept a certain amount of inevitable risk, such as the well-known risks we all take getting into a car. We do what we can to limit the risks, balanced against reasonable practicality/economics. We have traffic rules that are enforced by law, rules against driving drunk, modern cars have an enormous amount of engineering in them devoted to safety, etc, etc... But even so, everyone understands that there's nothing you can do to prevent a certain number of acc

                • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  Being mown down by a speeding drunk driver is also a senseless death.

                  The driver made a conscious effort to speed whilst drunk just as much as the terrorist made a conscious effort to detonate a bomb where people are very likely to get killed.

                  In fact, you could say deaths due to terrorism are less senseless, since they are ultimately designed to make the world a better place from the perspective of the terrorists and their supporters, whether or not we agree with it.

                  Drink driving and speeding can make no suc

                • Terrorism and other sorts of brutal mass-homicides tend to be particularly horrific because of the senseless nature of such killings. These are deliberate attempts to inflict as much suffering and death upon people as possible.

                  Speeding is worse. At least terrorists believe they are serving some higher cause. People who kill by speeding are just selfish assholes without even the justification of some warped morality. Add that to the fact that they kill far more people than terrorists ever could and I think i

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ultranova (717540)

            With this ambiguous new crime of "terrorism", it's too broad to define what you need to "nail'em" and get your desired outcome.

            Then perhaps you should not charge people with "terrorism", but on murder, vandalism, etc.

            I've never understood why "terrorism" needs special laws, when any kind of terror strike is already likely to run afoul of enough other laws to get you sent to prison for life. Even sending people flour in a letter could probably get you sued for harassment.

            If anything, suing people for terror

            • by Seakip18 (1106315)

              You see, that's the issue they tried to solve. Rather than have to get the needed proof and belief that "yes, they commited 1,842 crimes via one act" and try them each on so many x amounts of criminal charges, you can throw the book at them with one charge. No need to prove what constitutes things like single counts of vandalism and destruction of property when you've got so many other things to prove.

              Makes your evidence, your trial and everything else easier. They've just done a shitty job deciding how to

      • by dnwq (910646)
        Yeah, rhetorical. The political situations in such countries are always complicated and deeply nuanced - not something that armchair commentators at Slashdot appreciate.

        A blogger is detained under the ISA for writings that may be read to insult Islam. Members of the radical Islamic party then line to support an anti-ISA petition. And so on - how many Slashdotters understand the chain of events?

        Really, every time an article like this comes up, all that happens is either comments that think that everywhere [slashdot.org]
        • As a UK citizen for the last 44 years, I can tell you that we do not have anywhere near the level of political freedom that we had 10 years ago - 'terrorism' legislation has been routinely used against legitimate protests, and one clause in the legislation is currently being misused to justify 'stop and search' against youths, in an uncanny echo of the SUS laws that contributed so much towards the inner-city riots of the early 1980s.

          British civil liberties are at such a low ebb that even establishment figur

    • Re:Blogger's blog (Score:4, Informative)

      by ickoonite (639305) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @05:16PM (#25689661) Homepage
      the opposition in M'sia is a coalition that includes the radical Islamic right

      True, but that's because the opposition in Malaysia is still a rather nascent phenomenon. Yes, there have been opposition parties for years, but they are all very small, and so this odd alliance of non-Muslim Chinese Malaysians and the radical Islamic parties is what you get. It's the only way to face off the UMNO (ruling party) juggernaut.

      Incidentally, the blame for the Internal Security Act (both in Malaysia and Singapore) can be laid squarely with the British. As someone else has pointed out, it was introduced when there was a very real fear that Malaya would fall to the commies; the British were successful in preventing that. But afterwards, these new "democracies" felt that the ISA might be useful, and so it has remained. The other British-imposed legislative gem is that criminalising sodomy (though Muslim Malaysia might have had something to say about that anyway): the one-time darling of the UMNO party and now leader of the opposition Anwar Ibrahim has twice been accused of sodomy, though pretty much everyone knows the charges were politically motivated. The first time round though, he spent quite a few years in jail for it.

      The good thing is that sites like this "blog" are demonstrating that the power of the Internet is starting to act as a force for change (and why it is relevant to Slashdot, I might add). That the government feels the need to lock people up on trumped-up charges of anti-Islamic conduct is, ultimately, a sign that they are making waves. And that can only be a good thing.

      :|

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