Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 12, 2012

Zunar Confirms That Civil Court Case Decision Comes On May 23

The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has confirmed with a press release information he released via a tweet earlier in the week: that his civil case against government officials for harassment based on the political content of his cartoons has ended, and that a decision will come on May 23.

"My case proceeding has completed on the 6th of April with three more police officers testified for the government; ASP Zaihairul Idrus, ASP Arikrishnan and ASP Marina Hashim.

And they systematically said: 'Every page of Zunar's book contains cartoons that depict political leaders, the police and the judiciary, and can incite hatred and misunderstandings among the public.'

'It can also cause the public to be confused and lost confidence of the parties referred to (in my cartoons), and have bad faith in creating racial and religious unrest.'

In the previous sessions, I have also testified together with publisher and other witnesses, and maintained that the arrest was politically motivated.

On 24th September 2012, I was arrested and jailed for two days over the publishing of my then new book, Cartoon-O-Phobia. On top of that, I was investigated under the Sedition Act, which carries the maximum three-year jail if found guilty.

I challenge the Malaysian government on the ground that the arrest was made in bad faith, mala fide, and not according to the law. This is based on the fact that when the arrest was made, the books were not available in the market yet.

In my suit, I claimed general, aggravated and exemplary damages, losses from art collage and 66 books confiscated during the raid; and loss of earnings from inability to sell books.

The table could turn other way if I lose, in which I would have to pay up to RM40,000.00 (Euro 8,000.00) to the government."
I did not know that last part, that there may be significant financial cost to the cartoonist if the case does not end well. There is a definite economic element to this case that is fascinating to me, from this permutation of the court decision to the way that the cartoonist has found it difficult to find printers in his home country.
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink

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