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Friday, July 29, 2011

Surendran says again: Attempted murder

PKR counters the police version of the July 9 events with videos shot at KL Sentral


PETALING JAYA: PKR vice president N Surendran, ignoring a threat of legal action, today repeated his assertion that there was an attempt to commit murder in the tear gassing of Bersih marchers at KL Sentral last July 9.

Speaking at a press conference where reporters were shown videos to counter the police version of events during the march, Surendran accused the authorities of ignoring evidence of police brutality, which he said was abundant, and questioned the impartiality of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail.

PKR’s video presentation came a week after police screened a collection of clips for the media to back their version of what happened on July 9.

“The police version is inaccurate and false,” Surendran said. “They have not responded to the serious incident that took place at the KL Sentral underpass.

“Again I state that the attack should be classified as attempted murder.”

Surendran first uttered the accusation on July 20. Last Wednesday, police interrogated him for 45 minutes for making the statement. He told reporters afterwards that he was being investigated under the Penal Code on suspicion of making statements jeopardising public order.

At today’s press conference, he quoted from the Penal Code a definition of murder: “Without any excuse, A fires a loaded cannon into a crowd of persons and kills one of them. A is guilty of murder, although he may not have had a premeditated design to kill any particular individual.”

PKR’s video evidence

Revisiting the KL Sentral standoff, Surendran showed footage shot by FMT video journalist Saiful Hisyam Md Salleh as well as clips supplied by TV Selangor.

Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri gave a running commentary.

“At minute 6.27 (of the FMT video), there were orders of ‘Bawah, bawah’, meaning they were planning on aiming directly at the protesters,” she said. “This is the first unlawful act we want to point out.”

She also noted that the canisters had labels warning against shooting directly at people and shooting into an enclosed area.

“At minute 7.28, you can hear the Brickfields district police chief, Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid, asking reporters to step aside to avoid being shot at. This shows that the police already intended to shoot directly at protesters regardless of what happened.”

She noted that 12 shots could be heard. “Is it lawful for the police to fire so many shots at the protesters, especially in a confined place in the tunnel?”

Fadiah also referred to a TV Selangor video showing a policeman repeatedly beating a man with a baton although he was already restrained by two other policemen.

“That happened right after they fired the tear gas,” she said. “They tried to apprehend the marchers and were beating them for no reason.”

Surendran questioned why police investigations were directed against “peaceful marchers”.

“Where is the investigation on the unlawful and criminal acts of the police? Where is the investigation into the Tung Shin hospital incident? Where is the investigation into the severe injury of Anwar Ibrahim’s body guard?”

He said the authorities must classify the KL Sentral incident as murder. “I don’t see why the Attorney-General is not acting fairly in this.”

Can cause death

He also questioned why Abdul Bari had not been suspended from his duties.

“We all know tear gas has to be fired in an arc. Orders were given to fire directly at protesters and there was actually intention to inflict bodily harm. How high up did the order come from? That alone is enough to open up an IP (investigation paper) on the police. Criminal intent is there.”

Yew Boon Lye (left), who leads PKR’s Klang branch, told the press conference that he was in the KL Sentral march and that he was injured by a tear gas canister.

“We did not have the chance to get out when shots of tear gas were fired,” he said. “A canister scratched the side of my left eye and bruised it. My spectacles flew off. It was chaotic, full of gas, and I found it very hard to breathe, and felt like puking.

“I’m very disappointed with how cruel our security forces were. We had no intention of attacking them. They attacked us.”

Subang MP R Sivarasa said police were aiming the tear gas canisters at the heads of at least three people — Anwar, Yew and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.

According to research, he claimed, tear gas fired into enclosed spaces could cause death.

“Excessive tear gas was what cost Baharuddin Ahmad his life,” he said, referring to the protestor who died during the march.

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