RELEASE ALL 52 INDIVIDUALS IMMEDIATELY!

URGENT APPEAL: 5 December 2010

The authority’s intolerance to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression continued, when the police arrested at least 52 individuals, including a 15 year old minor, in and around the vicinity of the Masjid Negara (National Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur for participating a peaceful public assembly; to protest the proposed water tariff hike in Selangor; and to hand over a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding the water issue. They have since been brought to FRU Headquarters.

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. Three of them were released around 3pm before the other arrests took place.

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SUARAM condemns the brutal actions of the police, who attacked the crowd with tear gas and water cannons just moments after Selangor Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim and state EXCO members left in their cars to head to the Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum. Reports also indicate that the police stepped up their violent actions even as the crowd tried to disperse, resulting in some injuries among the participants of the rally. The Inspector-General of Police, Ismail Omar, even went so far as to threaten Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim with arrest if he rejoined the rally after handing over the memorandum.

The participants of the rally were finally allowed to disperse at around 3:45pm.

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.

Released By,

Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar

SUARAM Coordinator

Urgent action needed:

Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the ongoing denial of rights of expression and peaceful assembly. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizen to practice their freedom of expression and assembly as stated under the Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Please call and/or send your protest letters to:

1. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister’s Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building ,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya , MALAYSIA
Tel: 603-8888 8000
Fax: 603-8888 3444
E-Mail: [email protected]

2. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603-2262 6015
Fax: +603-2272 5613

3. Markas Brigade Tengah Cheras,
Pasukan Gerakan Am (PGA),
43200, Cheras
Selangor
Tel: +603-9086 2222
Fax: +603-9075 6732

SAMPLE LETTER
[Letterhead of your organisation]
Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613

Dear Sir,
Re: Release the 52 Persons Arrested
We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrests of 52 individuals at Masjid Negara (5 December 2010). They were arrested for participating in a peaceful public assembly; to protest the proposed water tariff hike in Selangor; and to hand over a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding the water issue. They have been brought to FRU Headquarters.
We are appalled by the police’s latest actions and view this as yet another attempt to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their freedom to express their views. We condemn the brutal actions of the police, who attacked the crowd with tear gas and water cannons just moments after Selangor Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim and state EXCO members left in their cars, to head to the Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum. Reports also indicate that the police stepped up their violent actions even as the crowd tried to disperse, resulting in some injuries among the participants of the rally.
We demand the unconditional and immediate release of the 52. We also demand that the Welfare Department be involved immediately ensure the minor’s well being. We further demand that the police force should stop the assault on freedom of expression and assembly.
We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Yours sincerely,
[Name]