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Surge in Police Harassment of Journalists, Activists, Protesters

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities are increasingly using criminal investigations to harass journalists, protest leaders, and various other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Many are facing potential prosecution and have…
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With GE15 on the horizon, there is a grave risk that arrests will continue to rise. Respect for freedom of speech in Malaysia is in free fall - a decline illustrated by two recent arrests. On the evening of Friday, April 23, seven police…
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attending parliament session at parliament lower house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 13, 2020.
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New Law Criminalizes Expression, Violates Privacy Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should revoke a new “fake news” ordinance that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and privacy and the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2)…
A television shows a live broadcast of Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at a shopping outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. 
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Decision Holding Portals Liable Poses Serious Risk to Freedom of Speech

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian Federal Court decision holding an online news site responsible for reader comments contravenes international human rights standards and will chill free speech in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. The court on…
Malaysiakini's editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to the media at the Federal Court in in Putrajaya, Malaysia on February 19, 2021. 
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Immunity, Police Powers for Military Raise Risk of Abuse

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s recently announced Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance is overly broad and should urgently be revised to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The ordinance, announced on January 14,…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
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Trial Postponed Over His Poor Health, But He Remains in Detention

(Beirut) – Algerian Authorities have brought charges against an activist for his peaceful support for the pro-reform Hirak protest movement and for boycotting the December 2019 presidential elections, Human Rights Watch said today. The activist,…
An Algerian demonstrator holds the Algerian national flag as he stage a protest against the government in Algiers, Algeria, Friday, Nov.29, 2019. 
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Two Prosecutions Highlight Threats to Press Freedom

Morocco and Algeria are neighbors and rivals, sharing one of the world’s longest closed-land borders, vying for diplomatic supremacy in the Maghreb region, sparring over Western Sahara, and insulting each other’s governments daily via state-influenced…
Journalists Khaled Drareni (Left) and Omar Radi (Right)
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Arrest of Bangladeshi in Documentary Violates Free Speech Rights

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities’ arrest of a Bangladeshi migrant worker who was featured in an Al Jazeera documentary is clear retaliation for his criticism of government policies towards migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities…
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Abusive Investigations for Critical Speech on the Rise

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities are increasingly responding to criticism of the government by initiating criminal investigations, Human Rights Watch said today. Journalists, civil society activists, and ordinary people have all recently faced…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
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Arrested While Covering Hirak Protests

(Beirut) – Khaled Drareni, a prominent journalist, was arrested on March 7, 2020 while covering the pro-democracy demonstrations in Algiers, Human Rights Watch said today. He was jailed for four days and then provisionally released,…
Journalist Khaled Drareni filming street protests in Algiers, December 2019.
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Free Anyone Detained for Peaceful Protest, Criticizing Authorities

(Beirut) – The Algerian authorities continue to arbitrarily arrest and prosecute activists from the pro-democracy movement “Hirak” despite the president’s promise to initiate a dialogue with the group, Human Rights Watch said today. …
On July 5 2019, thousands of people protested for a twentieth consecutive week in Algeria's capital, defying a major police presence just days before the mandate of interim president Bensalah expires. © AFP/Getty Images
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Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
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Prison Sentences for Protesters

(Beirut) - Algerian authorities are cracking down on the protest movement known as “the Hirak,” which opposes holding the presidential elections scheduled for December 12, 2019, arresting hundreds of activists and imprisoning scores for…
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Leaders Arrested Ahead of Disputed Presidential Elections

(Beirut) – Algerian authorities have arrested scores of pro-democracy movement activists since September 2019. Many remain detained on vague charges such as “harming national unity” and “undermining the morale of the army.” The…
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Keep Pledge to Repeal Abusive Laws

(New York) – The Malaysian government should reinstate its moratorium on using the Sedition Act pending the law’s repeal, Human Rights Watch said today. Previous Malaysian governments have used the broadly-worded law, which goes well beyond…
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad listens to questions during an interview with foreign media on one years anniversary of government in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Thursday, May 9, 2019.
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Keep Election Promise to Abolish National Security Council Act

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government is breaking a key election pledge by proposing to amend rather than repeal an abusive national security law, Human Rights Watch said today. The government on April 9, 2019, put before Parliament a bill to amend…
Section from Malaysia ruling party’s election manifesto, “Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation, Fulfilling Our Hopes,” promising to repeal abusive laws including the National Security Act of 2016.
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New Government Steps Back from Reform Agenda

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should reconsider its decision to lift the moratorium on laws previously used to repress dissent, Human Rights Watch said today. The government announced on November 30, 2018, that the cabinet had lifted its…
Riot police members stand guard at the Seafield temple on November 27, 2018 in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The priest says there are criminal elements involved in the attack on the temple yesterday. Temple chief priest Jeyakumar Subramaniam said he s
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Broadly Worded Bill Threatens Free Expression

(New York) – The government of Malaysia’s proposed law criminalizing “fake news” is a frontal attack on free expression and should be withdrawn, Human Rights Watch said today. A clear target of the legislation is discussion in…
Commuters sit in front of an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news, at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 28, 2018.
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Rights Activists, Religious Freedom Under Attack

(New York) – The Malaysian government cracked down on activists and opposition politicians critical of the government in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. With corruption allegations still casting a long…
201801wr_malaysia_human_rights People attend an anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 14, 2017.