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Greens Back Protest Against Malaysian Crackdown

18 January 2000

Greens Back Protest Against Malaysian Crackdown

The Green Party is calling for New Zealand to join the United States'
protest at the arrest of Malaysian opposition leaders.

Malaysian authorities last week arrested a lawyer, two leading opposition
politicians, the editor and the printer of an opposition newspaper, charging
them with sedition and releasing classified documents.

"If we don't protest now, it will give the Malaysian Government a green
light for more arrests," said Green Party Foreign Affairs and Defence
spokesperson Keith Locke.

Mr Locke said the previous National Government sat by while former Deputy
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was tried on trumped-up charges in a Malaysian
court.

"The whole world watched as Jenny Shipley refused to back US Vice-President
Al Gore when he protested at Malaysia's treatment of Anwar Ibrahim. Now the
Malaysian authorities have been emboldened to arrest his lawyer, Karpal
Singh, and four more prominent people who oppose their rule."

Mr Locke has written Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, encouraging him to
make a strong protest to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

"We owe it to the Malaysian people to speak out on their behalf," said Mr
Locke. "We should join the US in expressing our deep concern about these
human rights violations."

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