Free Activist Jailed Over Facebook Posts

Prison Cell by Geof Wilson

Target: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minster of Malaysia

Goal: Free an activist jailed for insulting the royal family on Facebook.

Malaysian activist Khalid Ismath has been arrested for Facebook posts he wrote that authorities have deemed insulting toward the Johor State royalty. He has been denied bail and will likely face a long imprisonment as he awaits trial on 14 charges. He is a prisoner of conscience and the charges against him ought to be dropped immediately. Sign the petition and demand justice for Khalid Ismath.

Ismath was initially detained after he posted on a Facebook page that was created to promote solidarity with Kamal Hisham Jaafar, a former legal adviser to the royal family who has since been accused and detained for corruption. Ismath was held for two days, released, and then re-arrested the same day for more posts on the same page. His phone and computer were confiscated while he was in police custody.

Malaysia has recently cracked down on free speech, pursuing charges under old anti-sedition acts with renewed vigor. Ismath faces a long imprisonment leading up to his trial. He should not be facing trial at all given that his only “crime” is the peaceful expression of his own political beliefs. Sign the petition and demand that the charges against him be dropped and that, in the meantime, he is kept safe from torture, ill-treatment, and other human rights violations.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,

I  demand that you immediately release Khalid Ismath, an activist who has been charged with 14 instances of insulting the royal family of Johor State. He is convicted and retained for simply expressing his political beliefs, which make him a prisoner of conscience. He must, therefore, be released immediately and the charges against him should be dropped.

Ismath was brought into police custody after he published a post on a Facebook page expressing solidarity with Kamal Hisham Jaafar. He was detained for two days, released, and then re-arrested the same day for more posts. His phone and computer were confiscated while he was in detention.

Ismath has been denied bail and is likely to face a long imprisonment leading up to his trial for 14 separate charges. However, he should not be on trial at all; peaceful expression of political beliefs is a universally-recognized human right. Ismath is a prisoner of conscience and must be released as soon as possible. In the meantime, however, I demand that he be protected from torture and ill-treatment and granted access to medical care and legal representation while he is in jail.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Geof Wilson

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