KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The Jimmy Wales Foundation has told Putrajaya to lift travel restrictions on cartoonist Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque and discontinue the numerous cases against him over his work and comments.
The foundation, which the Wikipedia founder started in 2015 to assist bloggers and activists arrested by authorities, said Malaysia has been harassing the cartoonist known as Zunar for years, including twice arresting him.
“JWF calls the Malaysian authorities to remove the travel ban from Zunar immediately and drop all charges against him,” it said in a statement.
Zunar was told by an immigration officer at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport of his travel ban when he tried to fly to Singapore on October 17.
The ban was apparently effective since last June 24, based on an order from the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
Khalid has since challenged Zunar to take him to court and have the order lifted, which the cartoonist said he will oblige.
Rights groups and activists have criticised the travel ban, calling it an infringement on Zunar’s constitutional rights.
The cartoonist, who frequently lampoons Malaysian politics in his art, was slapped with nine sedition charges in April last year that could see him face 43 years in prison.
He was accused of making nine “seditious” tweets which, among others, alleged judicial bias and government intervention in PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial and conviction.