Press Statement: 7th August 2013
SUARAM Secretariat Member investigated under Sedition Act 1948
SUARAM condemns selective persecution and use of the Sedition Act 1948 against Suaram Secretariat member and Human rights activist Ms Cynthia Gabriel under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act. We strongly believe that this investigation is politically motivated and is purely harassment against SUARAM and its members for exposing information related to the on-going Scorpene case in the French court.
Ms Cynthia Gabriel attended the investigation today on 7th August 2013 at 3pm at the IPD Petaling Jaya police station. During the investigation, the Investigations officer asked questions unrelated and non-relevant to the Sedition act. The investigating officer failed to produce or show the content of the police report that has been lodged against SUARAM in regards to the Scorpene dinner to Ms Cynthia Gabriel. The questions mainly focused on SUARAM as an organization, for example, what is SUARAM?, is SUARAM a company?, what does SUARAM do and stand for?. These are similar to the questions asked last year when SUARAM faced intimidation from government led agencies. This investigation led to nowhere and the Register of Societies (RoS) dropped their investigation of SUARAM. SUARAM sees this questioning as a waste of time and energy when the police should be investigating criminals involved in random shootings as well as those companies like Perimekar and Terassasi that have been linked to the French investigation.
We urge the Government and the police to put an end to any harassment against Ms Cynthia Gabriel, SUARAM as well as against all human rights defenders in Malaysia. We also call on the Government to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 which is against basic human rights principles and to drop charges of those who have been prosecuted for political reasons.
The Government must comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and in particular with, “Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”.