Hawker to sue over broken leg

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Dec 6, 07

Hawker Aleyasak Hamid Ali Hassan will sue the police and the government for the leg injury he sustained during the police crackdown last month on Bersih protesters who had gathered in the vicinity of Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur.

Aleyasak, who said he was not a participant in the protest but a mere spectator when the crackdown occurred on the afternoon of Nov 10, has accused police officers of crushing his knee during their dispersal of the protesters and attempt to prevent them from assembling at Dataran Merdeka.
The father of two said he was incensed over the police’s treatment of him despite his injury that day as well as the absence of any apology on their part for the excessive force used on him.
“There are good police officers and there are bad ones. I just want justice from those people responsible for having done this to me that day and treating me the way they did,” Aleyasak told Malaysiakini when met at his house in Kajang yesterday.
Bersih – a polls watchdog coalition of 67 NGOs and five political parties – organised the rally and march to the national palace to submit a memorandum on electoral reform.
About 40,000 people took part despite prior threats of action by both the police and Cabinet ministers.
Aleyasak was among dozens who took the brunt of a crackdown on what the police described as an illegal assembly after refusing to approve the organisers’ application for a permit. He also disclaimed any membership or affiliation to NGOs and political parties.
Also subject to foul lingo
According to Aleyasak, who sells pisang goreng to sustain his family, he was in Kuala Lumpur as his in-laws were holding a Hari Raya open house in Kampung Baru.
While stuck in traffic, Aleyasak said he wanted to get closer to the event after being satisfied the Bersih rally was peaceful. Minutes after his arrival at the corner of Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman near Masjid Jamaek, however, riot police started chasing protesters and arresting them.
Caught in the ensuing confusion and panic, Aleyasak slipped on the wet pavement and fell face flat on the pedestrian walkway.
Set upon by four to six uniformed police officers, Aleyasak said one of them stepped on his left leg and applied pressure on it until it broke at the knee.
Other than being subject to foul language, the officers treated him harshly even after he informed them of his injury. Refusing to help him onto the police truck, one of them kicked his leg, causing his already injured knee to smash against the vehicle.
Even when he was brought from the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters to Kuala Lumpur Hospital where he was admitted, Aleyasak said it was with the help of Bersih organisers and St John’s paramedics.
“From the time it happened to this day, there has not even been one word from the police of apology or acknowledgment of my injury,” said Aleyasak.
Done nothing wrong
Adding her angry voice to his, Aleyasak’s wife Maryam Jameela Megat Mohd Yusof (left) said they had decided to embark on the legal action in part for the sake of their children’s future.
“In the beginning, we wanted to just hide from everybody and put this whole thing behind us. But after a while, we realised that my husband had done absolutely nothing wrong to deserve such violence from the police.
“It has nothing to do with money. If we do not do anything now to change the way the police treat people, how will things be by the time our children grow up?!” said the tuition teacher.
A lawyer for the couple said details of the suit would be ironed out as soon as possible.
“An injustice has been done against him. We’re going all the way to try to extract redress and justice from those who did this,” Fadiah Nadwa Fikri told Malaysiakini.