May 23, 2013
Malaysian Student Activist Charged with Sedition After Calling for Protests
A Malaysian student activist has been charged with sedition after he called for protests against the results of an election that the opposition says was fraudulent.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Adam Adli under the country's controversial Sedition Act for allegedly telling a political forum that Malaysians should take to the streets and "seize back power."
The 24-year-old, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to three years in prison, if convicted. He was arrested Saturday and released on bail Thursday.
Earlier this month, Malaysian authorities also threatened to pursue sedition charges against dozens of speakers at a massive, unauthorized opposition protest against the election results.
Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition won a majority of parliament seats in the May 5th election, extending its 56-year hold on power, despite losing the popular vote for the first time in decades.
The opposition says the ruling coalition manipulated the vote in part by using fraudulent ballots, flying in foreigners to cast votes and restricting media freedom. The government denies the charges.
The three-party opposition coalition, led by ex-deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, has launched what it calls a "fierce movement" to challenge the vote and reform Malaysia's electoral system.
It is also pushing for changes to the country's Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act, which some rights groups say are being used to stifle dissent.
Mr. Najib said last year that he planned to eventually abolish the Sedition Act, which is a product of British colonial rule of Malaysia.