SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA
Address: 433A, Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Telephone: +6 03 7784 3525 Fax: +6 03 7784 3526
Email: [email protected] Web: www.suaram.net
PRESS STATEMENT: 01 MARCH 2012
Unfair Dismissal with Unwarranted Bail !
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly oppose the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision which overturned the acquittal order by Session Court’s denying the freedom of the 16 people who were arrested in 2007 for participating in a rally and for imposing RM5,000 bail each.
Batu MP Tian Chua, Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan and PAS central committee member, Mohamad Sabu, Mohd Salim Yeslam, Ahmad Razali Abd Rahman, Razali Abdul, Mohd Asri Ahmad, Muhd Harith Fatillah Shahabudin, Saleh Mohamad Tahir, Azahar Yusop, Sulaiman Ahmad, Taib Abdullah, Mohd Abi Salam Ariffin, Ishak Othman, Mohd Zad Abdullah, were arrested in December 2007 under the Police Act for participating in a rally organized by Coalition for Free and Fair Election (BERSIH 1) on 10th November, 2007.
Judge Jagjit Singh on 19 November 2010 acquitted all of them after 3 years of trial stating there was no evidence of participation in illegal assembly. However, today Justice Ghazali Cha has overturned the acquittal order and has further ordered the 16 to enter their defence. The justice Ghazali Cha said there was obvious evidence of their participation in the said rally based on video evidence to support the testimony by police and based on the yellow t-shirt they were wearing.
SUARAM is disappointed and dissatisfied with the attorney-general Abdul Ghani Patail and the court’s decision today against the 16 individuals who were arrested for practicing their right to freedom of assembly as enshrined under the Federal Constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
This is the second verdict in the nation’s judiciary against freedom of assembly within a week. Earlier this month another 16 individuals were also charged and fined for alleged participating in a rally against the ISA in 2009. This decision created shadows of doubt as to whether the government is committed to improving the human rights’ situation in the country. It is time that Prime Minister Najib Razak leads the nation towards a truly democratic society by taking the step towards removing all barriers against the right to freedom of assembly.
Every citizen of Malaysia has the right to assemble and as stated by SUHAKAM, any peaceful assembly should not require a permit and the organizers merely have to inform the police. BERSIH 1 had informed the police about the rally and had requested their cooperation to ensure smooth flow of traffic and safety of the rally participants. Permission was given to the organisers to submit memo to the palace. Instead of protecting the rights and safety of the participants, the police arrested them.
In addition, SUARAM calls on the Najib administration to withdraw the overturn of the acquittal against the 16 and respect the people’s freedom to assemble and express as stated in the constitution.