Category Archives: Updates

Group 39 Focus Case Update (Zunar)

Good news! After the recent election that ushered in a new government in Malaysia, there are signs of hope:

The travel ban that has been imposed on Zunar in October 2016 was lifted (read more). Zunar, a political cartoonist whose full name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, has critized the government under previous prime minister Najib Razak for many years. In what appeared to be an effort so silence a critical voice, he has faced harassment, publishing bans, and criminal charges by government forces. Now that the travel ban has been removed, the publishing bans and charges under the Sedition Act (with a potential penalty of 43 years) still are unresolved.

More information about the election results and Zunar’s reflection on them:
“Understanding Malaysia’s political earthquake”
“Hopes for new era of Malaysian free speech…”
“I miss Rosmah, says cartoonist Zunar”

Group 39 Focus Case Update (Zunar)

Political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known as Zunar, faces nine charges under the Malaysian Sedition Act for tweets with political content he sent. The charges could carry a potential penalty of 43 years in prison. Furthermore, five of his books have been banned on the grounds that they are “detrimental to the public order.” After being arrested in 2016, Zunar has been released on bail while awaiting his court date.

In addition, a travel ban has been imposed on Zunar in October 2016 without justification. He has challenged the ban and his case is scheduled to be heard by the High Court on 16 November 2017. [Statement by Amnesty International on travel bans]

In September 2017, the U.N. Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural studies, Karima Bennoune, visited Malaysia. In her preliminary report after the visit, she raises the issue of the Sedition Act charges and travel ban against Zunar and calls for both to be dropped.

Thank you – the Write to Witness event was a great success!

Thank you to the volunteers of Amnesty International Pittsburgh, City of Asylum staff and writers-in-residence, the writers who shared their works and thoughts, and all of the attendees who made Write to Witness such a great event and great way to raise awareness about the issues facing writers around the world.  In addition to supporting the event, attendees wrote at least 25 letters and wrote lovely messages of support for Raif Badawi.

Please check to stay up to date on current cases and ways you can take action and stay involved.

Pittsburgh’s Group 39 will host our largest annual event, the Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival in December.  Stay tuned for further updates about that and other events and actions on, on Twitter @amnestypgh and on Facebook: Amnesty international Pittsburgh Group. You may also join our Google Group “Amnesty International Group 39” to receive email updates as well.

Feel free to email us at with any questions, feedback or ideas for more events.
We’re specifically interested in volunteers to help restart our Sunday Human Rights Cafe, where we set up some letter writing at a local cafe or tea shop once or twice a month for 2 hours.

Some pics from the event.  See you at the next one and thank you for your support!

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