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Blogger given two-year jail term

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Malaysia has sentenced a prominent blogger who had been charged under the tough Internal Security Act (ISA) to two years' imprisonment, according to media reports.

Malaysiakini.com reported that Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar signed a detention order for Raja Petra Kamarudin's arrest on 22 September 2008. Malaysian law provides for indefinite renewal of the two-year detention period despite the absence of any trial.

Raja Petra has often criticized the government in his popular Malaysia Today blog.

"The minister's signing of the Section 8 order yesterday is completely unacceptable," said Raja Petra's lead lawyer Malik Imtiaz.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on 23 September heard a habeas corpus bid by Raja Petra's lawyers to overturn the detention of the controversial blogger.

Habeas corpus is a formal written order which requires prisoners to be brought before a judge to ascertain if there are procedural defects which could render their detention unlawful.

Judge Suraya Othman asked lawyers to make their submissions on the case by 28 October.

"This is dirty foul play by the government as they know that we are in the process of fighting for his release in the court, but I was expecting this," Raja Petra's wife Marina Lee Abdullah said.

Raja Petra was arrested on 12 September under the ISA. A journalist and an opposition legislator were also arrested but were later released.

Updates the Kamarudin case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/96119

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