Malaysia makes first arrest under fake news law

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman who is of Yemeni descent pleaded guilty to creating and publishing false news

The police had disputed his claims, saying that they only took 8 minutes to respond.

The 46-year-old was accused of sharing the video "with ill intent".

A Malaysian court has convicted a Danish citizen over inaccurate criticism of police on social media, the first person to be prosecuted under a new law against fake news. Offenders can be fined up to 500,000 ringgit ($128,000) and face a maximum of six years in jail.

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman was charged with posting a video on YouTube that claimed the Malaysian Police had taken 50 minutes to respond to distress calls after a Palestinian lecturer was shot in Kuala Lumpur on April 21.

The militant group Hamas has eulogized Al Batsh as a member and accused Israel of involvement in the killing, but Israeli officials dismissed the allegations. He said his action was a mistake and apologised.

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A group of charges related to alleged offences that occurred against two complainants between July 1996 and December 1997. Australia's Catholic leaders have spoken out in support of him, describing Pell as a "thoroughly decent man".

Sessions Court Judge Zaman Mohd Noor sentenced him to a week's jail from the date of arrest and a fine of RM10,000.

"I apologize to Malaysians". If he can not pay the fine, then he will have to serve another month in jail, the judge said. "The risky precedent should be overturned and this ill-conceived law repealed for the sake of press freedom". Lawmakers in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines also are preparing legislation to counter the proliferation of fake news online.

Malaysia's national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said their records showed a distress call was received at 06:41 and that police were on the scene eight minutes later.

Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act, enacted earlier this month after passing both houses of Parliament, covers "news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false", reports said. The law applies to offenders outside Malaysia and includes foreigners, if the country or any of its citizens are affected. Local media organisation Malaysiakini has filed a suit seeking to declare the law unconstitutional.

Malaysia's new fake news laws have been criticised by some for fear that that they will be used tom quash reporting of the corruption scandal now engulfing Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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