Saturday, November 08, 2008

RPK is free

In an usually intelligent move from a Malaysian court, a Malaysian judge freed noted blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin yesterday:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- A Malaysian court ordered the editor of an anti-government news Web site released from detention Friday, ruling that his arrest under a law allowing indefinite incarceration was unlawful, a lawyer said.

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 September 12 for allegedly causing racial tensions, said Raja Petra's lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

"It's a historic ruling and definitely a wonderful step in terms of civil liberties in Malaysia," Malik Imtiaz said.

He quoted the judge as saying the grounds given for Raja Petra's detention were insufficient and his arrest under the Internal Security Act was unlawful.

The ISA allows the government to detain anyone for an initial two-year period without charges and to extend the detention indefinitely.

Of course, RPK still faces legal peril from a number of other avenues, from his ongoing trial for sedition to civil court challenges and lawsuits. But for the moment, he's free and that's a very good thing indeed.

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