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Malaysian Opposition Lawmaker Jailed for Exposing 1MDB Audit


Malaysia's People's Justice Party Vice President Rafizi Ramli arrives at court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 14, 2016.

A Malaysian opposition lawmaker has received an 18-month sentence for leaking a classified document about a controversial state fund.

Rafizi Ramli, a prominent opposition lawmaker, was found guilty of violating the Official Secrets Acts by possessing and disclosing part of a government audit on an indebted fund founded by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, called for the immediate overturn of Rafizi's conviction. He said the arrest of the lawmaker was "unprecedented" and had only one purpose: to intimidate whistleblowers into silence."

Robertson said Prime Minister Najib's "alleged involvement in a corruption scandal is information that the public have the right to know and express views about without facing these kinds of politically motivated prosecutions."

Rafizi says he will appeal.