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.