Two days after the police raided the office of news website malaysiakini and confiscated 19 computers, six of the units were returned today.
The six computers were handed over to malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan at the Dang Wangi police station.
“This is a small victory for malaysiakini. Earlier, the police told us that it could be weeks or months before the computers are returned,” he said.
Gan said that the speedy return of the computers was due to the strong protest from civil groups, both in Malaysia and overseas.
Among those which have issued protest statements include the 10,000-strong Malaysian Bar, Aliran, Hakam, Suaram and international organisations — the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance and London-based Amnesty International.
“We would like to thank our supporters who have donated their computers to us over the past few days so that we can continue our operation. With the release the these six computers, we should be able to return some of these donated computers soon,” said Gan.
He said that the police have told him that other computers will be released as soon as they have completed the forensic examination of the units.
“We urge the police to immediately return the other 13 computers,” said Gan.
At the handover of the seized computers, which was done at 6.30pm, investigation officer ASP Alfazny Ahmad signed the release order after Gan has verified the identity of the computers.
Both men also added their initials on the computers’ castings with a whiteboard marker. The computers were later loaded into a van belonging to a staff member of malaysiakini.
The seizure of the computers was in response to a report lodged by Umno Youth last week against a letter published by malaysiakini which the movement claimed was seditious.
The hardware — 15 computers and four servers — were confiscated when Gan refused to divulge the identity of the writer on the grounds of professional ethics.