Fuziah Salleh

Mendamba Politik Baru

Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested

Lima orang peguam termasuk Sivarasah (Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Parti Keadilan Rakyat), Latheefah Koya (Angkatan Muda Parti Keadilan Rakyat),

& empat orang aktivis

ditahan IPD Polis KL kerana demo hak asasi pagi tadi.

Petang hari ini juga dua pemimpin BERSIH telah ditahan polis di tempat mereka berada; Tian Chua di Johor Bharu dan Mat Sabu di Ipoh.


Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Dec 9, 07 8:16amMalaysiakini.comhttp://www5.malaysiakini.com/news/75828
The police have arrested eight people, including five lawyers, forproceeding with a march to mark International Human Rights Dayfrom the Sogo department store to Central Market in Kuala Lumpurearly this morning.The arrests came aftera failed attempt by the organisers of the

march to negotiate with

the police to allow them to finish

their march at their intended spot.

The 100-odd crowd was already halfway to their

destination when the police give

the marchers a 10-minute warning to disperse.

The organisers, who believed that they could complete

their march within the time limit,

wanted to press on. According to an

eyewitness, the police however cordoned off the area, moved in

and made the arrests even before the stipulated deadline expired.

Those arrested included five lawyers – N Surendran (right),

Latheefa Koya, R Sivarasa, Eric Paulsen and Amer Hamzah.

Others were Anthony Andu, Norazah Othman and an unidentified activist.

They were arrested near the Jalan Tun Perak LRT station and

were immediately taken to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

The eight were arrested under the Police Act for illegal assembly,

said Dang Wangi’s acting Superintendent Che Hamzah Che Ismail.

The remainder of the marchers dispersed following the arrests.

“Authorities seem to be upset by any visible signs of protest and

I think this is a problem with the country,” said Sivarasa,

who is also a leader of PKR.

“They don’t seem to be able to deal with peaceful

dissent,” he told AFP before he was arrested.

Organiser Latheefa said that Malaysians needed to

continue to exercise their constitutional right to public assembly.

Willing to cooperate

Earlier today, at about 8am, the small group of about

100 gathered at the Sogo departmental store under the

watchful eyes of the police. There were however no signs of

the dreaded Federal Reserve Unit and their water cannon trucks.

The marchers had carried

banners that read “Lawyers for the

freedom of assembly” and

“Government that abuses

human rights is terrorist.”

Eyewitnesses said that one

of the persons arrested was

dragged into

the waiting police truck and

the arrests were done despite

the marchers’ willingness

to cooperate with the police.

This small group of marchers have undertaken this march after

the Bar Council had dropped its annual march in conjunction with

the International Human Rights Day celebration – which falls

on Dec 10 – due to pressure to obtain a police permit.

Yesterday the police had warned the public not to participate in

the march given that no permit had been issued for the gathering.

“As no permit has been issued for the gathering, those who take

part in it can be charged under Section 27(5) of the Police Act 1967

for participating in an illegal assembly,”

warned Che Hamzah in a Bernama report.

Upon the decision of the Bar Council to call off the march,

at least 15 lawyers decided to proceed with

the walk to make a statement that citizens

have a right to assemble peacefully and

without prior requirement of a police permit.

Venue changed

Two days ago, Surendran had said that

the march was purely initiated by a group

of concerned lawyers, adding that the

organisers will not be applying for a police permit.

“We think that applying for a permit is a

negation of our fundamental right to freedom

of assembly as enshrined in Article 10 of

the Federal Constitution,” he had explained.

“We feel the (Bar Council) march was called of

due to undue pressure from the authorities. We want

to send a message that the people of Malaysia have

the right to a peaceful assembly,” Surendran said.

Bar Council chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan meanwhile

had explained that the decision to call off the march was made

after “anxious consideration to the present circumstances

that surround the event, particularly the interests of the public and the Malaysian Bar.”

The Bar Council also moved

its “Festival of Rights” event today

to its own building located

near Central Market after police insisted

that organisers apply for

a permit to hold the event at Central Market.

In a related development,

Ambiga today expressed disappointed over

not being allowed to see the arrested people.

Ambiga said that the march

was peaceful and slammed the arrests as

“totally unnecessary and unfortunate.”

“The Bar holds the view that requirement of police permit is unconstitutional,”

she told reporters.

Meanwhile the police continued to exert pressure on the Bar Council over

their ‘Festival of Rights’ by arresting the council’s human rights committee

chairperson Edmund Bon, allegedly for preventing the authorities

from performing their duty.

Eyewitnesses said that Edmund was arrested at about 12.45pm for blocking

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officials from removing human rights banners

outside the Malaysian Bar building in Leboh Pasar Besar in Kuala Lumpur.

Immediate response

In an immediate response, PKR de facto leader

and ex-deputy premier

Anwar Ibrahim lambasted the authorities for using

the law “to subvert freedom

and to suppress the people’s fundamental democratic

right to peaceful assembly”.

“In the absence of any evidence that they planned to

jeopardise the public’s safety,

their arrest represents nothing more than scare tactics

we have seen used in

the past by the Malaysian government as it prepares

to unleash the draconian

measures of the Internal Security Act,” said Anwar

in a statement this afternoon.

“The individuals who have been detained today are

among the most patriotic

Malaysian citizens and many have dedicated their

life’s work to upholding the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, Penang-based social movement Aliran said

it deplored the

“thoughtless and mindless reaction” of the government

in cracking down on the march.

“We are appalled that even a small gathering

of marchers to a nearby

destination in an orderly manner without

obstructing the traffic or causing

any chaos to the public cannot be allowed

or tolerated by this oppressive

regime,” said Aliran president P Ramakrishnan.

“If this little act of a democratic principle cannot be

exercised in a responsible

manner, can we pretend to be a democratic

country any longer? This state

abuse of our fundamental rights shames

the country and condemns

the leaders as hypocrites.”

Ramakrishnan called on the government to

release those arrested,

whom he described as “brave Malaysians who

have been unjustifiably detained”.


December 9, 2007 - Posted by | Politics


  1. Masha’allah. Good for them, I wish Americans had the guts to stand up to our corrupt government more often.

    Comment by parallelsidewalk | December 10, 2007

  2. if only gvt would listen!

    Comment by anoynamous | December 10, 2007

  3. the gvt MUST not win the next election!

    Comment by anoynamous | December 10, 2007

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