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Malaysian activist gets 30-month sentence for letter deemed seditious over racial complaint

A court has sentenced a Malaysian social activist to 30 months in prison for publishing what officials called a seditious letter accusing the government of oppressing the nation's ethnic Indian minority.

The charge stems from an open letter that P. Uthayakumar wrote in 2007 to seek former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's help for ethnic Indians in ethnic Malay Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Uthayakumar was a key organizer of a major protest in 2007 that stunned authorities by bringing tens of thousands of ethnic Indians into Kuala Lumpur's streets in a rare public display of anger.

Uthayakumar has alleged the government does little to help impoverished ethnic Indians and condones the killing of Indian suspects by police. Authorities deny his claims.

A Kuala Lumpur district court convicted Uthayakumar of sedition on Wednesday.