The arrests of Tian Chua, the Information Chief of the People’s Justice Party (KeADILan), Mohamad Sabu, the Vice-President of Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) and 12 other persons associated with the BERSIH rally on 10th November 2007 will not deter future mass actions, said Elizabeth Wong from the KeADILan Information Bureau.
Wong, who is also the Information Chief of the Women’s Wing of KeADILan, said, “If the government believes its actions will frighten us from exercising our fundamental right to assemble peacefully, they are sorely mistaken.”
Tian Chua was arrested on Sunday after his presentation at a human rights forum in Johor Bahru, while Mohammad Sabu was arrested amidst his daughter’s wedding in Ipoh. Both men have been brought back to Kuala Lumpur under police custody, where they are expected to be charged together with 12 other persons from PAS’s Unit Amal for ‘illegal assembly’ on Monday, 10th December at the Duta Magistrates Court.
Wong said, the TV3 report at 8 o’clock that Tian Chua was released on police bail was an outright lie.
“At 8:24 pm, Tian Chua sent a text message, stating that he was about to reach Nilai in a police car, and was heading towards the Jalan Stadium Police lockup.”
Wong also slammed the arrests on Sunday morning of lawyers and activists during the march to commemorate World Human Rights Day and the harassment of the Bar Council.
Two KeADILan lawyers, R. Sivarasa, its Vice-President and Latheefa Koya, a member of the party’s Supreme Council were arrested with 7 other persons.
Wong added that the Bureau had received information that another member of the Party’s Supreme Council, N. Gobalakrishnan, was also arrested on Sunday and will be brought to the Shah Alam Magistrates Court on Monday, to be the 32nd person charged for attempted murder of a police officer during the HINDRAF rally.
“This is the biggest clampdown on democratic voices since Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi took power four years ago.
“It is not coincidental that in past weeks, there have been mass arrests and intense harassment, where the government has began their concerted operation to come down hard on all forms of dissent, from BERSIH and HINDRAF to the Bar Council and even bloggers such as Jeff Ooi.
“We believe Abdullah Badawi may be desperate enough to order the arrest of Anwar Ibrahim, together with other opposition leaders, Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang as they too were present at the Bersih rally,” she added.
Wong called on the government to respect fundamental human rights, considering Malaysia is a sitting member of United Nations Human Rights Council.
“If they are unable to fulfill their obligations in the protection and promotion of fundamental liberties in Malaysia, it is only right that Malaysia seat be vacated in the Council,” she said.
People’s Justice Party
9th December 2007
Crackdown will not deter future mass actions