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Political cartoonist Zunar, pictured in his Kuala Lumpur office in 2015. A court in Malaysia dropped nine sedition charges against Zunar. (AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

Malaysia withdraws sedition charges against cartoonist Zunar

July 31, 2018 11:53 AM ET

New York, July 31, 2018--A Kuala Lumpur court yesterday dropped nine sedition charges against Malaysia's political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known as Zunar, according to news reports. If convicted, Zunar, who was honored with CPJ's 2015 International Press Freedom Award, could have been jailed for up to 43 years.

"The decision not to pursue charges under this colonial-era, muzzling law is a welcome first step on what we hope will be the road to greater press freedom in Malaysia," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad must now keep his campaign promise to repeal the country's ludicrous 'false news' law and the other legislation enacted by previous governments that has silenced many independent voices over the years."

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