11/07/2008, 00.00
MALAYSIA
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Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin released

High Court rules he is innocent and that Interior Ministry charges were unlawful. His attorney calls the decision “historic”.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Malaysian High Court ordered the release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a Malaysian national and editor of Malaysia Today who was arrested on 12 September charged with threatening public security and causing racial tension for publishing writings that ridiculed Islam in this predominantly Muslim country. Raja Petra left prison today welcomed by family, friends and supporters with a garland of flowers.

Shah Alam High Court Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad ruled that the home minister acted outside his powers in having Raja Petra Kamaruddin arrested

The grounds given for the blogger’s detention were insufficient and his arrest unlawful under the Internal Security Act (ISA), a holdover from British colonial times, which allows the government to detain anyone deemed a threat to the country without charges for an initial two-year period, and to extend the detention indefinitely.

Many in the opposition and among social groups have called for the law’s repeal.

On his website Raja Petra had increasingly infuriated authorities by publishing numerous reports about alleged wrongdoing by government leaders who denounced Raja Petra’s claims as false.

The blogger’s attorney, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, said that the judge’s order was a “historic ruling”.

“It is the first time that a court orders the release of someone arrested on the basis of the ISA. This is a great step forward for civil liberties in Malaysia,” he said.

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