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Another blogger arrested for allegedly posting seditious material online, faces investigation

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Malaysian blogger Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz, the second to be arrested in a week's time, will be transferred to Kuala Lumpur for further investigation for allegedly posting seditious materials online, media reports said.

Kelantan deputy police, Chief SAC II Amir Hamzah Hussin, said that Syed Azidi would be brought to the federal capital because the report against him was lodged at the Dang Wangi police district in Kuala Lumpur.

Http://www.Malaysiakini.com reported that Syed Azidi was brought to the court at about 1 p.m. (local time) on 18 September 2008 in an unmarked police vehicle and was greeted by a group of supporters including Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) vice-president Husam Musa.

Syed Azidi is a well-known film-maker-turned-blogger and also works for the Kelantan government.

He runs the popular kickdefella blog which often lampoons Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in mock movie posters.

Malaysiakini.com said that his online campaign to fly the Jalur Gemilang or Malaysia's national flag upside down in August caused a furor and stern warnings from Abdullah.

Syed Azidi was arrested on 17 September under the Sedition Act at his home in Kota Bharu. He is likely to be probed by the Multimedia Unit of the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID).

His wife, Bariah Ishak, told Malaysiakini.com that her husband looked pale when she met him on 19 September. She said that she was worried for his well-being as he suffers from low sugar levels.

Speaking to reporters in Kota Bharu, Husam said that Syed Azidi's arrest was a form of selective prosecution. It was aimed at intimidating bloggers, he added.

Husam also said that he would appoint lawyers to assist Syed Azidi.

Malaysiakini.com reported that a group of bloggers have banded together to express support for the two arrested bloggers. Spokesperson for the bloggers' group, Amin Iskandar, said that their members aim to create public awareness about the Sedition Act which granted the authorities wide ranging powers to determine what is deemed seditious.

Human rights group Suaram has condemned the arrest.

"It is a violation of freedom of expression. It is aimed to strike fear against those who criticise the government. It will have a chilling effect on bloggers and other Internet users," said Suaram director Yap Swee Seng.

"Clearly it is aimed to curtail dissent against the current leadership."

Syed Azidi is the second blogger to get in trouble with Malaysian authorities over website content.

Prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who has targeted government figures on his website, was arrested on September 12 under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

Raja Petra, founder of the controversial Malaysia Today website ( http://mt.m2day.org/2008/ ), has already been charged with sedition and defamation after linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman.

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