Friday, September 12, 2008

Home Minister: Raja Petra detained under ISA - Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 12, 2008):

Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) today, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.

He said Raja Petra, 58, was picked up at his house in Sungai Buloh at 1.10 pm under Section 731 of the Act.

Raja Petra was detained after it was ascertained that he could disrupt and threaten security and public order, he said when contacted.

Syed Hamid said the detention came in the wake of various statements published by Raja Petra in his blog "Malaysia Today", the latest being a commentary which allegedly ridiculed Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

"We have called and advised him many times following the publishing of his statements but he has continued to write, so much so that they (the statements) could pose a threat (to security and public order)," he said.

Meanwhile, Raja Petra's wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, said 10 policemen came to the house and detained her husband at 1.10 pm and took him away at 1.50 pm.

She said she did not know where they had taken him to.

Marina said the police also took several tapes and a computer from her husband's room.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, when contacted, said the police would issue a statement on Raja Petra's detention this evening.

Raja Petra was detained under the ISA in April 2001 for his involvement in the reformation movement and was held for 53 days at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping, Perak.

Raja Petra reportedly incited Muslims with a commentary on the article "I promise to be a good, non-hypocritical Muslim" which contained sentences that ridiculed Muslims besides allowing a commentary which ridiculed Islam and Prophet Muhammad with reference to the article "Not all Arabs are descendants of the Prophet" published in the "Malaysia Today" blog.

Syed Hamid issued a warning on Sept 6 that Raja Petra might be detained under the ISA in connection with the articles, and several police reports were made on the matter by several organisations, among them the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim), the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (Maik), the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) and the Islamic Missionary Foundation of Malaysia (Yadim).

Section 731 of the ISA permits the detention of an individual for up to 60 days, Bernama reported.

In an immediate reaction, Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail condemned Raja Petra's arrest, just after his blog was un-blocked by the government.

"If Raja Petra has in fact incited racial or religious hatred, then charge him in court and allow him to defend himself," she said.

She said PKR views Raja Petra's arrest, and the show-cause letters issued to several media organisations, as a possible prelude to a wider impending crackdown.

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