Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, sentenced to 2 years imprisonment in September and now in custody for 56 days, is to be freed later today by order of the high court in Selangor. The blogger had been imprisoned for allegedly promulgating articles insulting Islam on his Malaysia Today blog at http://mt.m2day.org/2008
A full report can be found on the Al Jazeera link in the side bar on my Poet-in-Residence blog.
Raja Petra has consistently infuriated the authorities by refusing to follow the government line with his blog. He is one of 700 Malaysian bloggers who comment on social and political issues says Al Jazeera. His detention triggered widespread protests, a brisk trade in anti-government t-shirts and candle-light vigils. The Malaysian deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whom the blogger links to the brutal murder of Altantuya Shaariibu in 2006, is a frequent target of the Malysia Today blog. Raja Petra's pages also highlight Muslim on Muslim terror attacks and murders in Islamic countries like Algeria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The controversial law under which Raja Petra was arrested empowers the authorities to detain a 'suspect' for 2 years, and this is renewable indefinitely, without bringing any charges. Raja Petra could even be immediately re-arrested under Malaysia's all-encompassing Internal Security Act. Bloggers throughout the free world will be keeping more than a close eye on developments.