The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) today condemned the arrest of Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
Its chairperson Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari and secretary-general Denison Jayasooria said this was in breach of the undertaking given by the executive when Sosma was enacted, that it will only be used against terrorists.
“Maria is a human rights defender and not a terrorist. Maria and Bersih are merely seeking reform of the current electoral system in Malaysia to ensure free, clean and fair elections.
“This cannot be detrimental to, or undermining parliamentary democracy. On the contrary, it strengthens parliamentary democracy,” they said in a statement today.
Maria was arrested yesterday after a police team from Bukit Aman together with officers from the Companies Commission of Malaysia raided the Bersih office in Petaling Jaya. She was arrested with Bersih secretariat member Mandeep Singh.
Today, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed with Malaysiakini that Maria was being detained under Sosma.
Police are investigating Bersih under Section 124C of the Penal Code for attempts to carry out activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, a charge which can be classified under Sosma.
Proham called on the government to release Maria and other Bersih supporters, and cooperate with the group for electoral reform.
“Work with them in taking proactive steps towards improving our current electoral system.”
Kuthubul is the former Malaysian Bar president, while Denison was a Suhakam commissioner.
Samad: Use of Sosma against the spirit of the law
Meanwhile, former Bersih co-chairperson A Samad Said also slammed the use of Sosma against Maria.
“This goes against the spirit of the law which is to curb terrorist activities,” said Samad, who is also Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy chairperson.
Samad said police use of Sosma in this manner was an insult to the law which was passed in Parliament.
“We urge the home minister to respect the democratic rights of the people, free Maria immediately and stop the persecution against pro-democracy activists who are fighting for clean and fair elections,” he said.
He urged the immediate release of all leaders who were arrested before the rally today, including the red-shirts.- Mkini