October 2, 2008

Datuk Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Department
Federal Government Administration Center
Bangunan Perdana Putra
62502 Putrajaya
Malaysia
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 Center
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 protest the detention of Internet writer Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

According to our information, Raja Petra Kamaruddin was 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. He filed a habeas corpus application at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on September 16, 2008, seeking his release from detention, but on September 22, 2008, the Malaysian Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar signed an order to remand Raja Petra in custody for up to two years under Section 8 of the Internal Security Act. Remand orders under Section 8 cannot be challenged in court and can be renewed indefinitely. On September 23, 2008, Raja Petra’s lawyers submitted another habeas corpus petition to the Court to overturn his detention, and the judge has ordered submissions on the case be made by October 28. Raja Petra Kamaruddin is currently being held at the Kamunting Detention Center in northern Perak state.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that Raja Petra Kamaruddin has been detained solely for the peaceful expression of his opinions in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore respectfully call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
              
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
Email: malwash@kln.gov.my

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