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Malaysia: Rights Group Taken Out Of Context

Human Rights Watch today castigated the Malaysian press for taking statements out of context.

We issued a statement on June 11 condemning the public vilification of Anwar Ibrahim and raising concerns about everything from independence of the Malaysian judiciary to the frequently changing charges in this case," said Sidney Jones, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. "Those concerns have not been mentioned once."

She stressed that Human Rights Watch took no position on the substance of the allegations against Anwar and had no reason to believe he engaged in any of the alleged acts.

Jones said a sentence in the June 11 statement calling for the scrapping of the sodomy laws was twisted by the press into a suggestion that Human Rights Watch was actively campaigning for the legalization of sodomy. "We think the Internal Security Act is a bad law because it can be applied broadly in a way that is violative of human rights. We think the Printing Presses and Publications Act is bad for the same reason. It was in this context that we raised Article 377B of the Penal Code. We stand by the statement that bad laws should be scrapped."

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