Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sedition in Brunei

Here's a lovely example of the company we're keeping with our archaic sedition laws: three men were jailed for a year in Brunei for sedition. Their "crime"? According to a police statement, they

recorded their voices on a cell phone and linked the file to a video clip of one or more members of Brunei's royal family, making it seem that whoever in the clip was speaking those words.

This was considered to "[bring] into derogation the status and position" of the royal family. We phrase it differently - here the crime is "bring[ing] into hatred or contempt" - but its the same nonetheless: mock your rulers, go to jail.

This law is a relic of absolute monarchy, and the sooner we are rid of it, the better.