(Malaysiakini) Bloody ceramah: Suhakam wants full facts

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Sep 10, 07 4:56pm

A very concerned Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) wants to meet with the police and the opposition to find out what actually transpired at the bloody ceramah in Pantai Batu Buruk in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday night.

A violent stand off between the police and the opposition supporters left scores hurt and two suffering serious injuries after being shot with live bullets by the police.

Commissioner N Siva Subramaniam said the commission had met and discussed the incident this morning and decided to seek the official report from the police as well as the opposition parties before stating its views and deliberating on the next course of action on the matter.This includes the issue of whether human rights violations had occurred and the appropriateness – or otherwise – of the use of live fire in the course of the police’ dispersal of the crowd.
“We are very concerned with the events that took place and would like to get the facts of the entire case,” said Siva when contacted.
“We cannot determine matters until we have acquired the details. Let’s look at the facts of the case from both sides first,” he added.
Siva added that discussions with the police would take place next week, but did not say when the commission will be meeting with opposition representatives.
About 500 people were reported to have gathered for the talk at Pantai Batu Buruk which was organised by polls watchdog Bersih – a coalition of 26 NGOs and five opposition political parties campaigning for free and fair elections.
Terengganu police chief Ayub Yaakob said police personnel and officers – including the Federal Reserve Unit – as well as enforcement officers from the local authorities were mobilised to disperse the crowd because the organisers had not obtained a permit for the event.
The opposition, however, said an application for the permit had been submitted to the police prior to the event and Bersih had decided to proceed with the event on the assumption that they would be given the green light.
The situation turned unruly at about 10pm when the police and the local authorities prepared to tear down the makeshift stage and shot tear gas and fired water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Ayub said his men only used tear gas and water cannons after the crowd turned aggressive and started hurling stones at them. It was also claimed that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the FRU.


Umno directive

On the incident that led to the discharge of a firearm, the police charged that FRU officer Azmi Hussein was set upon by a group of 20 men near the Permai Inn car park in the vicinity of the ceramah.

After being pushed to the ground and attacked by the crowd, Azmi drew his weapon and fired his weapon defend himself, following which the crowd dispersed and allowing the FRU personnel to escape.
As a result of that, however, two men from the group were hurt – one in his shoulder and another in his neck. They are currently undergoing treatment at the Kuala Terengganu Hospital.
According to Ayub, four police personnel were also injured after being attacked by the crowd.
At least 23 opposition supporters were arrested. While 19 of them were freed on police bail yesterday, four have been remanded for further investigations.
In a statement issued today, opposition party PKR’s Youth wing slammed the police’ violence and attributed it to a directive issued by figures within Terengganu’s Umno state leadership.
PKR’s vice-youth chief Fariz Musa said in every ceramah and party programme allowed by the police, no untoward incident had ever occurred.
“Instead, chaos will occur every time the police intervenes, proving that it is the police who commit acts of provocation in order to sully the image of (PKR) and other opposition parties,” he said.
Fariz also called for full investigations to be conducted on the incident, including the set up of a royal commission of inquiry, in view of the serious injuries sustained by two people following the violence.