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Friday, November 18, 2016

Bersih eve raid and arrests unjustifiable, says Suaram

It says crackdown is desperate attempt to intimidate and derail rally.
PETALING JAYA: The police crackdown on electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 is unjustified given the deputy home minister’s admission that there is no evidence to show that Malaysian civil societies are funded to undermine the Malaysian government, says civil rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).
“Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan himself has acknowledged the fact that there is no such evidence.
“As such, the move to raid Bersih 2.0 is unjustifiable and can only be interpreted as a desperate attempt to intimidate and derail the Bersih 5 rally,” said Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy in a statement today.
This follows the Friday afternoon police raid on the Bersih office and the arrests of Bersih chairman Maria Chin and Bersih secretariat member Mandeep Singh.
Suaram called the raid and Maria’s arrest, under Section 124C of the Penal Code, as well as that of Mandeep, under Section 147 of the Penal Code, an “act of intimidation targeted against activists working on the Bersih 5 rally and the Malaysian people who are struggling for institutional reforms”.
“Suaram demands that the police cease with its harassment and intimidation against Bersih 2.0 and immediately release Maria and Mandeep Singh and cease its attempts to derail the people’s movement,” Sevan said.
Suaram urged the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to intervene in the matter and ensure that Malaysians’ right to peaceful assembly was not jeopardised by the arrests.
“Suaram also calls for the police to acknowledge and respect the findings of the High Court regarding Bersih 5 yesterday and to comply with the recommendations and observations of international actors, including the United Nations,” Sevan said.
The High Court had yesterday pointed out that the police were legally bound to ensure that the Red Shirts held its counter-rally at a different location to prevent clashes with Bersih 2.0 supporters tomorrow.
Justice Nantha Balan, in reading out his ruling rejecting an application for an injunction to prevent Bersih 5 and a counter-rally from taking place in the capital, said Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act stated that the police must redirect any counter-rallies if they know that clashes are imminent. -Mkini

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