Malaysia jails rights activist for "seditious" letter

Featured South East Asia - June 6th, 2013

A Hindu rights leader in Malaysia has been jailed for penning “seditious” remarks in a letter accusing the government of oppressing the ethnic Indian minority.

A Kuala Lumpur district court convicted P. Uthayakumar of sedition on June 5, reports The Associated Press.

Uthayakumar was accused of publishing material critical of the government after writing a letter to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2007 and was charged on December the same year.

The open letter written by Uthayakumar accused the government of failing to help impoverished ethnic Indians and condoning the killing of Indian suspects by police.

He also claimed many ethnic Indians were killed in “ethnic cleansing” in Malaysia while activists have long raised concerns that ethnic Indians are vulnerable to police brutality.

Malaysian authorities have denied the allegations along with Uthayakumar’s claims and have pledged to curb the number of deaths in custody, according to AP.

Ethnic Indians comprise less than 10% of nation’s 29 million people, of which ethnic Malay Muslims are the majority.