‘I have your back and you will have mine’: Graphic artist Fahmi Reza stands with those investigated for supporting him

Fahmi Reza holds a placard outside the Dang Wangi district police headquarters in a show of solidarity with Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Fahmi Reza holds a placard outside the Dang Wangi district police headquarters in a show of solidarity with Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Popular graphic artist Fahmi Reza Mohd Zarin today turned up outside the Dang Wangi district police headquarters (IPD) here, in a show of solidarity with Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil.

Ahmad Fahmi is among eight individuals whom the police are currently questioning over their attendance of a solidarity protest for Fahmi on April 24, after the latter was arrested.

“It seems like the authorities want to make solidarity a crime, but I am here to say that solidarity is not a crime. I have your back and you will have mine,” Fahmi said during a press conference outside the IPD here.

On April 23, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed in a statement confirmed his department’s arrest of Fahmi, following police reports over alleged insults against the Raja Permaisuri Agong.

Huzir said that the investigation was linked to a Facebook post on Fahmi Reza’s Facebook account containing the queen’s photo and information regarding a playlist of songs in the form of a remark “This Is Dengki Ke? 💛 100 dengki songs, all in one playlist.” as well as a Spotify playlist featuring the queen’s photo labelled with the words “This is Dengki Ke” and with the playlist featuring songs containing the word “jealousy”.

Dengki is the Malay word for malice or resentment due to envy or jealousy.

The police also said that investigations are being carried out under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

“When I was detained here, several people, regular citizens, came to Dang Wangi to show their solidarity with me, and today, the police have opened investigation papers on eight people who gathered in solidarity with me, when I was inside.

“So I am here today to show solidarity with all those who will be questioned for standing in solidarity with me,” Fahmi added.

He also accused the authorities of intimidating those who stood with him and vowed to come to Dang Wangi IPD every time those who gathered in solidarity with him are called up for questioning.

During his press conference, Fahmi also stressed that he is not linked to any party or politician, adding that Ahmad Fahmi has been a friend since 2004, when they both participated in a gathering and were detained together by the police.

“This was an era where all forms of gatherings which didn’t have a police permit were assumed to be illegal gatherings. Police shot water cannons towards those who gathered that day, and I was detained, Fahmi Fadzil was detained and 15 mothers were caught on the same day too. So it is quite ridiculous actually,” he said adding that at that time, he was also caught for his artwork, for the first time.

“At that time, they tried to stop me, I didn’t stop and now they are trying again to stop me, I will not stop and I will continue to fight all forms of corruption, all forms of oppression and injustice,” he added.

He also called on the leaders to not play up “partisan sentiments”, adding that he came to support Ahmad Fahmi as a personal friend.

Ahmad Fahmi’s lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, later told the press that the police has recorded his statement as a witness.

“We were also informed that there is one police report lodged on the issue that there was a solidarity gathering in front of the Dang Wangi IPD.  But we don’t know who lodged,” Syahredzan said.

“I am the first to be called. I don’t know how many have been called or will be called, but I understand there will be a few more, based on news reports,” Fahmi said when met.

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