Zunar Assistants Arrested for Selling Cartoon Books

Just over a month after a Malaysian appeals court lifted a ban on two of political cartoonist Zunar’s books, the artist and his employees are again facing harassment and intimidation from police. As the sensational trial of an opposition leader accused of sodomy began last week, three of Zunar’s assistants were arrested outside the courthouse “for selling books which mocked the judiciary and the country’s leaders.”

The sales assistants, two women and a man, are currently free on bail. One news source initially reported that one of the women was Zunar’s wife, but he said she was in another city on business at the time and the police later confirmed that she was not among the arrestees. All of the assistants’ merchandise including books, cards, and comics was also seized by the police and has not been returned.

As the cartoonist predicted last month, the government is also appealing the decision to lift a ban on two of his books, Perak Darul Kartun and 1 Funny Malaysia. Four more Zunar books remain banned, and just today he received word that he is again being investigated for sedition. He was told to “report to the police station next week,” while his webmaster is also being called in for questioning. Zunar intends to hold a press conference and issue a full statement on these latest developments tomorrow.

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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.