Malaysian Opposition Nurul Izzah Released After Overnight Detention

March 17, 2015 – Nurul Izzah Anwar, the eldest daughter of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, has been released on bail after she was detained overnight for alleged seditious remarks made in parliament.

Nurul Izzah’s detention follows a series of arrests of pro-opposition supporters, including student leaders who took part in a recent anti-government rally to free opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Nurul Izzah, a two-term MP and seasoned politician, seemed unfazed despite being locked up overnight by police.

In parliament last week, Nurul Izzah read out a statement by Anwar condemning his trial as a political conspiracy and also accused Malaysia’s Federal Court – which upheld her father’s sodomy conviction and sentenced him to five years jail – of being partners in crime for contributing to the death of a free judiciary.

“I have every right to speak my mind, to bring up issues in parliament. They should not touch me,” she said after her release.

Nurul Izzah said she was emboldened after spending her first night in a lock-up. While she did not have much sleep and complained about the crowded conditions, she said her biggest regret was having to leave behind her family and two children.

“The jail was overcrowded, even children are also in detention. And the food was horrible too! I kept thinking: ‘Yes. I am separated from my family and children. But what I am doing will affect their future, so I remain committed.’ It is a small sacrifice,” she added.

Nurul Izzah’s release came as a relief to her mother Dr Wan Azizah, who is currently in hospital. “There is a lot of pressure, of course. We have been through this but when they take my daughter, there was more pressure on me,” she said.

“But we have the strength to carry on because we want a better Malaysia. If this is the price to pay, we are willing, but we want everyone to be with us.”

Now out on a month’s police bail, Nurul Izzah has pledged to continue to speak out against the government both in and outside parliament.

Her overnight detention has also been criticised by international rights groups that have raised concerns about a series of arrests under the controversial Sedition Act. Nine people are currently in detention for taking part in an anti-government rally on March 7, during which they called on the government to free Anwar Ibrahim and for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down.


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