Malaysian secret police abduct rebel radio presenter
(MIRI, MALAYSIA) Peter John Jaban, a presenter of Radio Free Sarawak, an independent radio station broadasting news for Sarawak’s indigenous communities, has today been abducted by unidentified Malaysian security forces who are believed to be members of the Special Branch, Malaysia’s secret political police.
According to a statement by Radio Free Sarawak, the radio presenter was on his way home to spend the Gawai harvest festival with his family when he was detained and photographed prior to boarding a flight from Kota Kinabalu to Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. Malaysian police officers told him that he would be arrested upon arrival in Sarawak. But when he reached Miri, despite heavy police presence, a lawyer and a local politician awaiting Peter John Jaban managed to bring him out of the airport as the police did not have immediate arrest orders.
Several minutes after leaving the airport, Peter John Jaban’s car was stopped and the radio presenter was forced out of the car by plainclothes security forces who refused to identify themselves.
"To say we are worried is an understatement" Clare Rewcastle Brown, Founder of Radio Free Sarawak, has said today. We are desperately trying to find where Peter is and why he was pulled from a car without any proper reason by unidentified people."
London-based Radio Free Sarawak broadcasts a daily two-hour-show on local news in Malay and Iban, a native language spoken by longhouse communities in Sarawak’s interior. The radio station aims at breaking the information monopoly held by the authoritarian Sarawak government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. Recently, politicians from Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition had called on the government to clamp down on the rebel radio.
The Bruno Manser strongly condemns the Malaysian authorities' attack on press freedom and calls on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to immediately order Peter John Jaban’s release.
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