ALL THOSE 52 INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN RELEASED!

UPDATED URGENT APPEAL: 5 DECEMBER 2010

52 individuals who have been arrested for participated in a peaceful public assembly; to protest the proposed water tariff hike in Selangor have been released around 8pm today. 50 were released from the PGA Headquarters and two other individuals have been released from Bukit Jalil police station. The two were brought to Bukit Jalil Police Station for not bringing their Identity cards (IC).

Earlier in the morning, 3 persons – Dr. Nasir Hashim (PSM Chairperson and Kota Damansara state assemblyman), S. Arutchelvan (PSM Secretary-General) and A. Sivarajan (PSM Treasurer) – were arrested even before the rally started, which was scheduled to start at 12.00 noon. They were arrested for wearing red t-shirts and on the suspicion that they might be involved in an illegal assembly. They were released around 3pm before the other arrests took place.

SUARAM condemns the brutal actions of the police, who attacked the crowd with tear gas and water cannons. SUARAM further condemns the actions of the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression and assembly, fundamental rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

SUARAM also would like to thank all those concern citizens who had called the police and demand for the release of the individuals.

Please continue send protest letters to IGP and to the Prime Minister to condemn the arrest and continuous assault on Freedom of Expression and assembly in Malaysia.

Released By,

Nalini.E

SUARAM Coordinator

video relate to protest today:

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22YdfcNJGK0&feature=player_embedded’]

photos during protes: (photo’s by Abah Anas Facebook)

Memorandum of protest to the IGP on the arrest and detention of inquest witness K.Selvach Santhiran

Bukit Aman, 30 October 2010

Introduction

The continuing descent of the PDRM into lawlessness has been graphically demonstrated by the 25 October beating and abduction of K. Selvach Santhiran by men in plainclothes claiming to be police personnel who did not properly identify themselves. Selvach was one of the key witnesses who testified against the police in the recently concluded R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest.

On the very day the verdict was delivered in the inquest, the police moved against Selvach and came to his home to arrest him. When Selvach’s children asked the police why their father was being dragged away, the police answered by beating Selvach in front of his own children. In a twisted perversion of conjugal love, the police tried to make Selvach’s wife S.Saraswathy kiss him before beating him up in front of her.

Selvach, who did his duty as an upright citizen by telling the truth at the R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest, is now being held at an unknown location with no access to his family or lawyers despite several efforts to meet him or ascertain his whereabouts.

It is believed that he is being detained without trial under the draconian Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 or the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 that allow the police to detain a person for 60 days with no recourse to judicial safeguard and thereafter 2 years’ detention on the order of the Home Minister.

Our Protest

Whilst we understand that the police have an important and onerous job to prevent and combat crime, the police must understand that the wide powers of arrest and detention cannot be abused and used arbitrarily. As a professional police force, they should be guided by the law and legal processes in the country and not act with impunity and complete disregard for constitutional and judicial safeguards.

This is unfortunately symptomatic of the police’s inability to act professionally as a police force that can work within a modern criminal justice system and not resort to preventive measures that do not require any real police work and diligence. The police should instead strive to be a modern and professional force that conform to international standards and best practices and not regress to wrongful practices that have caused the public to lose so much confidence with the police force.

The aggressive and unlawful response of the police is a reflection of the general arrogance and lack of respect for the Federal Constitution, the rule of law and other legal procedures. This is not an isolated incident but a continuation of a long standing series of acts by the police that showed their contempt for the rights of the people that have resulted in gross abuse of police powers leading to brutality, torture, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, shooting, custodial violence and death.

The arrest and detention of Selvach is gravely aggravated by the fact that he was arrested on the same day – after the outrageous and scandalous “open verdict” delivered by Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin in the R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest. Selvach was one of three persons who were in police custody with R.Gunasegaran and they have consistently identified Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal as having physically assaulted the deceased. They did so despite threats to their safety by the police and despite the inducement that their cooperation would secure their immediate release.

It cannot be a mere coincidence that Selvach was arrested so soon and further more he was detained under unspecified accusations under draconian provisions that allow the police to detain a suspect without trial for up to two years. It goes without saying that whistleblowers should be protected by the administration of law rather than punished by law enforcement officers. This is a blatant abuse of police power and a serious criminal act that can be prosecuted under the Penal Code and may further be subjected to contempt of court proceedings. Further, these actions point to police retaliation and clearly intended to intimidate those who speak up against injustices or wrongdoings perpetrated by members of the police force.

Uncivilised and unjust laws like the DDA and EO have no place in a modern and democratic state like Malaysia. These oppressive laws and methods violate the constitutional and human rights of the people and are contemptuous of the judicial authority and the legal process. The Malaysian Bar and civil society have forcefully and repeatedly called for the repeal of all preventive detention laws and for such arbitrary arrests and re-arrests to cease.

The police cannot be permitted to continue to operate in an environment of impunity but as this tragic episode has explicitly illustrated, the police has just sent a strong message that they can act as they please with no regard to the rule of law, police professionalism and the law and procedure governing their conduct.

Our Demands

The Inspector General of Police must:

a) release Selvach immediately and issue a public apology to him and his family;

b) take stern action, including criminal prosecution and disciplinary action against the policemen who assaulted and arrested Selvach;

c) support the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), to function as an independent, external oversight body to investigate complaints about police personnel and to make the police accountable for their conduct;

d) stop the unjust practice of arresting and re-arresting under preventive detention laws;

e) undertake to respect the right of the people for unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times;

f) require the police especially those in plainclothes to identify themselves and display their authorisation when affecting their powers;

g) support human rights education and training programmes, with a view to changing the attitudes and methods of law enforcement personnel.

Submitted by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on behalf of the family of K. Selvach Santhiran

Memorandum SUHAKAM

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA(SUARAM) & GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA (GMI)
ADUAN SALAHGUNA KUASA POLIS DAN TUNTUTAN SATU PENYIASATAN TERBUKA TERHADAP PIHAK POLIS.

12 OGOS 2010

Kami dari SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) bersama dengan Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) dan para tahanan yang ditahan pada 1 Ogos 2010 lalu ingin membuat aduan pada hari ini terhadap pasukan Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) yang dipimpin oleh Ketua Polis Negara Tan Sri Musa Hassan kerana telah menyalahgunakan pasukan polis dan Light Strike Force (LSF) pada 1 Ogos 2010 dalam satu program Vigil yang aman dan teratur.

1.0 ANTI ISA VIGIL SEMPENA 50 TAHUN ISA
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) telah mengumumkan kepada media bahawa satu program Vigil Lilin serentak akan diadakan pada 1 Ogos 2010 sempena 50 tahun ISA[1]. GMI bersama dengan kumpulan NGO yang lain seperti SUARAM, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS), Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), Student Democratic Movement (DEMA) dan Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) telah membuat perancangan untuk mengadakan program tersebut pada 1 Ogos 2010, pukul 8.00 malam serentak di beberapa tempat di Malaysia sejak bulan Jun yang lalu.

Vigil Anti ISA serentak yang diadakan di Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah dan Sarawak adalah untuk menuntut agar kerajaan mansuhkan ISA dengan segera, bukan hanya pinda, kerana ia adalah sebuah akta yang membenarkan penahanan tanpa bicara dan ianya mencabuli hak asasi manusia untuk mendapat perbicaraan yang adil.

2.0 POLIS: PEMENANG ANUGERAH PENCABUL HAK ASASI RAKYAT
Sempena dengan 50 tahun ISA, GMI telah memaklumkan tentang program ini kepada Jawatankuasa Hak Asasi Manusia, Majlis Peguam Malaysia; Pusat Bantuan Guaman; SUHAKAM dan juga kepada Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan. (Sila Lihat Lampiran 1)
Pada 1 Ogos Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar telah memberi amaran kepada orang awam supaya jangan menyertai[2] Vigil aman ini walaupun notis pemberitahuan sudah diberikan kepada KPN pada 28 Julai 2010. Malah, semua tempat yang dirancang untuk diadakan Vigil telah disekat oleh pihak Polis dengan sepenuhnya walaupun kebanyakan tempat-tempat tersebut adalah tempat persendirian. Misalnya, di Padang Timur Petaling Jaya, pihak polis telah menutup keseluruhan padang tersebut walaupun pihak penganjur mempunyai permit yang diluluskan oleh Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) (Lihat lampiran 2). Amaran dan perbuatan menutup jalanraya dan tempat pertemuan adalah sesuatu yang tidak masuk akal dan sekaligus melanggari hak asasi rakyat untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10, Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pada jam 8.00 malam 1 Ogos, kebanyakan negeri telah menghadapi intimidasi yang tinggi daripada pihak Polis. Namun, ”Pemenang/Champion” sebenar pencabulan Hak Asasi pada hari tersebut adalah OCPD Petaling Jaya, ASP Arjunaidi Mohamed. Beliau telah menunjukkan sikap yang tidak profesional dalam menangani situasi pada hari tersebut. Beliau[3] langsung tidak memberikan masa yang mencukupi untuk memberikan laluan kepada pihak penganjur untuk beredar secara aman. Malah, beliau sebenarnya tidak tahu proses untuk menyuraikan para peserta. Beliau menggunakan LSF untuk menyuraikan para peserta yang berada dalam keadaan aman.

Walaupun Majlis Peguam Malaysia dan SUHAKAM berada di sana sebagai pemantau namun pihak Polis tidak mempunyai tanggungjawab dan kepekaan terhadap hak asasi manusia.

2.1 ANTARA KESALAHAN YANG DILAKUKAN OLEH PIHAK POLIS DAN SALAH DI SISI HAK ASASI MANUSIA ADALAH SEPERTI BERIKUT:

1. Kebanyakan rakyat yang hadir telah dikasari, ada yang dipukul, dicederakan dan kekerasan digunakan serta seramai 39 orang ditangkap di seluruh negara tanpa sebab yang munasabah. Insiden penangkapan ini berlaku di Petaling Jaya[4], Kelantan dan Pulau Pinang[5].

2. Ini termasuk dua juvana di bawah umur (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan) ditahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis.

3. Membuat tangkapan yang berniat jahat seperti menahan mereka yang memakai baju t-shirt berwarna merah dan hitam.

4. Salahguna kuasa oleh pihak polis yang tidak memaklumkan kepada pihak peguam atau pun orang kena tahan bahawa mereka ditahan.

5. Penggunaan LSF yang sangat keterlaluan menyebabkan para peserta mempunyai kesukaran untuk bergerak serta mengganggu orang awam yang berada di sekitar tempat perhimpunan

6. Pihak polis turut menyukarkan orang awam dengan membuat sekatan jalan di semua kawasan di seluruh negara yang menganjurkan vigil Anti ISA

7. Pihak polis turut mengancam mengambil kenyataan daripada para peguam yang mewakili orang kena tahan. Ini adalah satu pencabulan hak asasi yang serius dan initimidasi polis yang keterlaluan.

8. Wartawan Harakah suami dan isteri serta anak mereka yang berumur 16 tahun turut ditahan semasa menjalankan tugas mereka sebagai wartawan yang membuat liputan di Kelantan.

2. 2 BERIKUT ADALAH INFOMASI TEMPAT-TEMPAT YANG MENGANJURKAN VIGIL DAN MENGALAMI PENANGKAPAN:

Bilangan ditahan/initimidasi polis Lapor balik kepada polis
Selangor
Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur [6]
• Seramai 400 orang hadir di PJ
• Seramai 29 orang ditahan termasuk juvana bawah umur
• Ramai yang dikasari dan dipukul oleh polis (Lampiran 3: Disertakan Video) Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 16hb Ogos 2010

Penang Speakers Square[7]
• Seramai 5 orang ditahan
• Terpaksa menukar tempat lain kerana intimidasi polis yang tinggi
• Dikasari oleh polis Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 14 Ogos 2010

Perak Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh
• Seramai 200 orang hadir diIpoh
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil .Tiada

Kedah Dataran Zero KM, Sungai Petani • Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Kelantan Taman Hijau, Jalan Sultanah Zainab, Kelantan
• Seramai 30 orang menyertai Vigil
• 5 orang ditahan termasuk dua wartawan Harakah dan kanak-kanak bawah umur yang 16 tahun. Lapor kepada polis pada 1 September 2010

Seremban Dataran Seremban
• Seramai 100 orang menyertai di Seremban
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Johor Plaza Seni, Johor Bahru
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

Sibu No. 25, Pusat Tanah Wang, Jalan Perdada, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak • Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang Tiada

Kuching Lots 468-469, Bangunan Al Idrus Commercial Centre, Jalan Satok, 93400Kuching.
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

2.3 PERLEMBAGAAN PERSEKUTUAN VS AKTA POLIS
Pihak Polis sekali lagi telah melanggar hak asasi dan juga menyalahguna kuasa dengan menggunakan keganasan dan kekasaran terhadap para peserta Vigil Anti ISA. Kerajaan gagal untuk melihat kepentingan dan kebebasan rakyat Malaysia yang menggunakan ruang demokrasi mereka untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan Negara. Malah penggunaan Akta Polis khasnya seksyen 27 (Perhimpunan Haram) adalah amat bertentangan dengan perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Kami ingin imbas kembali pendirian yang diambil oleh SUHAKAM semasa kejadian Lebuhraya Kesas (2001), Bloody Sunday di KLCC (2006), serta insiden Bandar Mahkota Cheras (2008). Salah satu pendirian dan cadangan yang disarankan oleh SUHAKAM semasa penyiasatan umum kejadian Bloody Sunday di KLCC[8] adalah pihak penganjur hanya perlu memberikan notis awal kepada pihak polis berkenaan dengan sebarang perhimpunan aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Deklarasi Hak Asasi Sejagat Manusia (UDHR).

Penggunaan LSF secara rambang adalah satu tindakan yang tidak releven dan seharusnya boleh dielakkan sekiranya pegawai polis bersedia untuk berunding dengan pihak penganjur. Pihak polis melakukan pelbagai kesalahan atas nama ketenteraman awam dan menurut arahan. Antara kesalahan yang mereka sering lakukan adalah menghalang perhimpunan awam, hak untuk mendapatkan khidmat peguam, menahan juvana dan kanak-kanak, dan penyeksaan terhadap tahanan. Namun mereka tidak sekalipun berubah selepas setiap kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh mereka sentiasa dikritik secara nasional dan antarabangsa.

3.0 PERKARA YANG PERLUKAN PERHATIAN
SUARAM dan GMI amat mengalu-alukan inisiatif SUHAKAM yang telah turun sebagai pemantau semasa program Vigil Anti ISA di Petaling Jaya. Ini adalah suatu langkah yang amat progresif dan perlu diteruskan. Malah kami juga menyokong kenyataan akhbar yang bertarikh 3 Ogos 2010[9] yang dikeluarkan oleh SUHAKAM sejurus selepas insiden tersebut bahawa pihak polis tidak memberikan masa yang secukupnya untuk bersurai dan menyifatkan tindakan polis sebagai pencabulan Hak Asasi.
Sehubungan itu, kami ingin membawa perhatian SUHAKAM kepada beberapa isu yang memerlukan tindakan segera:

1. Penyalahgunaan kuasa oleh Polis semasa menyuraikan para peserta semasa perhimpunan Vigil:

a. Menggunakan LSF (khasnya di Petaling Jaya) secara ganas dan kasar semasa menyuraikan para peserta
b. Penangkapan dibuat secara ganas dan kasar
c. Wartawan Harakah ditahan di Kelantan adalah mala fide
d. Sesiapa yang memakai baju warna merah dan hitam menjadi sasaran
e. Semua penahanan di Petaling Jaya, Pulau Pinang dan Kelantan adalah tidak releven dan mala fide

2. Kebebasan untuk Berhimpun dirampas
a. Polis menutup jalan ke arah semua kawasan yang dirancang untuk mengadakan vigil
b. Amaran daripada Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara yang melarang orang awam menyertai Vigil adalah tindakan yang melampau dan melambangkan pihak polis tidak mendukung prinsip Hak Asasi dan Demokrasi.
c. Penangkapan orang awam dan penganjur Vigil sebelum program bermula.

3. Peguam diinitimidasi oleh Polis
a. Sekumpulan peguam daripada Majlis Peguam Malaysia, Pusat Bantuan Guaman dan Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) yang mahu mewakili anak guam mereka diganggu pihak Polis dengan pihak peguam juga diminta memberikan keterangan.

4. Hak Kanak-kanak dirampas
a. Dua juvana di bawah umur di tahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan). Pihak Polis telah melanggari peruntukan dalam Akta Kanak-kanak seksyen 19(5) dengan tidak memaklumkan kepada Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat tentang penahanan kanak-kanak bawah umur.
b. Malaysia telah menandatangani Konvensyen Hak Kanak-kanak (Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu) yang bertanggungjawab dalam memastikan bahawa hak kanak-kanak yang ditahan atau berada dalam penahanan polis harus dijaga dengan rapi. Namun, ianya dilanggari oleh Polis apabila mereka tidak mengambil inisiatif untuk maklumkan kepada ibu bapa atau Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat.

4.0 TUNTUTAN KAMI
SUARAM dan GMI berpendirian bahawa penindasan, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan keganasan Polis semasa Vigil di seluruh negara adalah kesalahan Hak Asasi yang teruk dan mereka harus dibawa ke muka pengadilan.
Oleh itu, kami ingin menggesa SUHAKAM agar:

1. Melaksanakan Penyiasatan Umum dan terbuka terhadap kesalahan dan tindakan Polis yang melampau pada 1 Ogos 2010.
2. Memberikan laporan akhir kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pihak Polis yang melakukan kesalahan dan tindakan melampau mereka ke atas para peserta.
3. Memberikam tekanan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengkaji kembali Kanun Keseksaan (Penal Code) dan Akta Polis 1967 dan mencadangkan kepada mereka agar membuang semua bahagian yang menghadkan kebebasan berhimpun dan bersuara.
4. Meneruskan kerja pemantauan dalam setiap perhimpunan aman. Malah pada masa yang sama, kami juga ingin menggesa SUHAKAM untuk lebih proaktif dengan cuba menjadi orang tengah antara pihak penganjur dan pihak Polis sebelum sebarang perhimpunan supaya boleh mengurangkan tekanan antara Polis dan pihak penganjur.
5. Mengambil inisiatif untuk mengaktifkan Bahagian Human Rights Defenders dalam SUHAKAM dan melindungi semua aktivis dan pendukung Hak Asasi daripada seringkali menjadi mangsa keganasan, kekasaran dan intimidasi polis dan kerajaan.
Diserahkan Oleh,
Nalini Elumalai, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Pengerusi Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

________________________________________
[1] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/138332
[2] http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/1/nation/6776657&sec=nation
[3] http://www.klik4malaysia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3660%3Anationwide-anti-isa-rally-in-conjuction-with-50-years-of-isa-success-despite-of-police-brutality&catid=94%3Asuaram&Itemid=195〈=en
[4] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/138896
[5] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/Police-break-up-anti-ISA-vigils-arrest-30-in-PJ-3-in-Penang/
[6] http://www.aliran.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1435:anti-isa-vigils-held-across-the-nation&catid=63:gmi&Itemid=48
[7] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/Police-break-up-anti-ISA-vigils-arrest-30-in-PJ-3-in-Penang/
[8] Suhakam (2006) ‘Report of Suhakam Public Inquiry Into the Incident at KLCC on 28 May 2006’.
[9] http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/3/nation/20100803145014&sec=nation

SUHAKAM’s Positive Efforts Must Continue

SUARAM commends the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) for sending an official monitoring team to the Anti ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 at Padang Timur Dataran MBPJ, Petaling Jaya. This was in response to an earlier request by SUARAM and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) to send a monitoring team for the vigil. The vigil was held to commemorate the passing of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 50 years ago and to call for the abolition of the ISA.

SUARAM notes that SUHAKAM Commissioners James Nayagam and Muhammad Sha’ani, accompanied by their five officers, were present before the vigil began and also at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters where those arrested were brought. They continued monitoring at the police station until the last person was released at approximately 4.50am.

This is indeed a positive step forward following SUHAKAM’s refusal to do the same exactly one year ago, in the massive anti-ISA rally in August 2009, which subsequently saw 589 individuals being arrested.

Such renewed efforts in SUHAKAM’s work is indeed welcomed and is especially timely in view of the continued occurrence of grave violations of human rights in the country. SUHAKAM’s latest effort is a glimpse of what the Human Rights Commission that Malaysia could and ought to do to fulfil its mandate as a credible national human rights institution and expected role as a public defender of human rights.

Notwithstanding this, SUARAM expresses concern over the government’s disregard of SUHAKAM’s previous recommendations. The arrests made during the anti-ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 were the latest of the many instances of the government’s refusal to comply with SUHAKAM’s numerous recommendations on peaceful assembly, including those contained in the Commission’s reports of its public inquiries on the cases of the Kesas Highway incident (2001), the “Bloody Sunday” incident in KLCC (2006), and the Bandar Mahkota Cheras incident (2008). In the report of the public inquiry into the “Bloody Sunday” incident, for example, SUHAKAM recommended that “peaceful assemblies should be allowed to proceed without a license”. However, through the excessive use of force by the police and FRU personnel in dispersing participants of the candlelight vigil and previous peaceful assemblies, it is evident that SUHAKAM’s repeated recommendations to the Government have fallen on deaf ears.

SUARAM thus strongly calls upon the police and the Malaysian Government to respect SUHAKAM’s decisions and actions following the Anti ISA vigil and to implement all recommendations made by SUHAKAM.

Encouraged by the positive efforts by SUHAKAM, SUARAM lastly urges the Commission to revisit all recommendations made to the government with increased vigour. SUHAKAM must ensure that its improved efforts in the protection and promotion of human rights do not end with this instance.

OPEN LETTER

Arjunaidi Mohamed
Ketua Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya
Ibupejabat Polis DaerahPetaling Jaya
Polis Diraja Malaysia
Petaling Jaya
Jalan Penchala
46050 Selangor
Tel: 03-79662222
Fax: 03-79548740
5 August 2010

Sir,

We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the brutality and misuse of power by your personnel at the Anti ISA candlelight vigil on 1st August 2010 at Padang Timur MBPJ, Petaling Jaya. The candlelight vigil organised by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

On 1st August, 29 persons were arrested at around Amcorp Mall Petaling Jaya and IPD Petaling Jaya for exercising their right to assemble peacefully as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. As the Officer in Charge of Police District (OCPD) Petaling Jaya, your violent and heavy handed tactics in dispersing the peaceful assembly was highly unprofessional and uncalled for. Instead of acceding to the organisers’ request to negotiate terms for the vigil and providing time for the crowd to disperse peacefully, you ordered your officers to move in forcibly on the crowd which resulted in a situation of chaos and fear. In your arrogance, you even denied the legitimacy of the permit given by the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) to the organisers.

Violence was brutally deployed when your officers moved in to arrest participants of the vigil. Those arrested were shoved, beaten, slapped, dragged, choked and verbally abused by your police officers. Even women were not exempt from the violence. Such extreme use of violence was highly unnecessary as those arrested would have cooperated when informed that they were being arrested. You exercised your powers arbitrarily and as such, you are to be blamed for the human rights violations that occurred on that night.

In addition to that, we condemn your various intimidation tactics such as deploying water cannon trucks and the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) to frighten the good citizens who gathered outside the District Police Headquarters (IPD) Petaling Jaya in solidarity with those arrested. Vindictively, you also arrested another 3 individuals outside the IPD and deployed traffic police in the wee hours of the morning to summon the vehicles of those who were waiting outside the police station for the arrested to be released. However, we regard the intimidation of the highest order to be your action to compel the lawyers representing those arrested to give a separate witness statement. We condemn outright violation of the right to seek counsel and the rights of the lawyer when representing their clients.

Even though Section 27 of the Police Act provides police with arbitrary powers to allow or refuse permits for public gatherings, this provision is in contravention of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia which guarantees civil liberties with regards to the right to assembly and free speech.

As an OCPD, you should be ashamed of yourself for being a poor example as a leader to the younger and lower ranking police officers under your charge. As a member and leader of the police force, you should be setting an example to the officers under your charge by respecting fundamental human rights in your endeavours to protect the public from crimes. Contrary to this, you have shown not just your officers but the people of Malaysia that you exercise control over the public by inflicting fear and terror.

Due to the above, SUARAM demands that you publicly apologise to the participants of the candlelight vigil, those who were abused by your officers and the lawyers whom you have intimidated. We also urge you not to press charges against those who were arrested as they were merely exercising their Constitutional rights to assemble peacefully.

Like the activists and participants of the candlelight vigil, you are also a citizen of Malaysia. We believe that you would equally benefit from the preservation of the right to assembly and free speech that are essential in a democratic society.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)