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Malaysia Frees Political Prisoner

August 25, 1999

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ One of Malaysia’s most prominent political prisoners was released Wednesday after a year in jailing and was greeted by the cheers of opposition activists.

Lim Guan Eng, a member of Parliament for 12 years and deputy secretary-general of the opposition Democratic Action Party, was imprisoned for sedition and printing false news because of a pamphlet he distributed in 1995.

The pamphlet criticized the government’s decision not to press statutory rape charges against Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, a ruling party politician and the former chief minister of Lim’s home state, Malacca.

A cheering crowd of one thousand activists and members of Malaysia’s main opposition parties gathered outside the prison gates.

Lim and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is now in jail, have become national symbols of the growing opposition to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s 18-year rule.

Lim lost his seat in parliament because under Malaysian rules members are expelled if they are sentenced to more than one year in prison.

Lim’s sentence was for 18 months, but he was released early for good behavior.

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