Bersih 10 set to be charged

4 December 2007
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KUALA LUMPUR: Ten people who took part in the Nov 10 Bersih gathering in the capital have been told to appear in the magistrate’s court today as they are going to be charged.

Bersih steering committee member R. Sivarasa, who is also a lawyer, said the exact details of the charge were not known but it has to do with the Nov 10 gathering.
He said they could be charged under the Police Act or for illegal assembly.
“Malaysia should respect the right of freedom of peaceful assembly.
“This (the charge) poses a threat to that right and will not go down well internationally or nationally,” he added.
Sivarasa, who is also a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president, stressed that charging the 10 would have no impact on Bersih’s campaign.
“We will continue our activities until free and fair elections are held,” he said.
Lawyer Latheefa Koya, who is also from PKR, said the investigating officer had called up the 10 individuals on Sunday and told them they were going to be charged.
She said most of the 10 were PAS members and from the “unit amal” group, and responsible for managing the crowd during the gathering.
Latheefa said 14 individuals who were arrested during the gathering on Nov 10 had been released on police bail.
“So we are not sure if all 14 will be charged or it’s only 10. We only know that that 10 have been called up,” she said.
Bersih is a coalition of non-governmental organisations and opposition parties who are pushing for free and fair elections.
The police did not grant Bersih a permit for the Nov 10 gathering in the city on grounds that it would cause chaos and disruption.
Despite this, the illegal gathering was attended by tens of thousands.
Police broke up the crowd at Masjid Jamek with tear gas and water cannons but allowed the demonstrators to march to Istana Negara where they handed a memorandum to a representative from the palace.
The memorandum, addressed to the King, asked for his intervention for free and fair elections to be held in the country.
On Wednesday, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said he had offered Bersih alternative venues such as the stadium to hold its gathering peacefully but this was rejected.