November 13, 2008

Datuk Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi

Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Department
Federal Government Administration Centre
Bangunan Perdana Putra
62502 Putrajaya
Fax: + 60 3 8888 3444

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
Attorney General
Attorney’s General’s Chambers
Level 1-8, Block C3 & Level 2, Block C7
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62512 Wp Putrajaya
Fax: +60 3 888 9378

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to welcome the release of Internet writer Raja Petra Kamaruddin. However, we remain concerned that he still faces sedition charges for his writings in a separate case.

According to our information, on November 7, 2008, the high court in Shah Alam ruled that the detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin was illegal, and he was immediately released. He had been arrested on September 12, 2008 for allegedly “insulting Islam” and publishing articles which “tarnished the country’s leadership to the point of causing confusion among the people” on Malaysia Today, his web site. Though he is no longer in custody, he still faces sedition charges for an article he published on April 25, 2008, which implicates senior ruling party leaders in the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman. The trial began on August 15, 2008 and is ongoing.

PEN American Center welcomes the release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, but remains concerned that he still faces sedition charges solely for the peaceful expression of his opinions. We therefore respectfully call for all charges against him to be dropped in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula                   
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Ilango Karuppannan
The Chargé d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Malaysia
3516 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 572-9882

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