Bersih rally: 17 claim trial

11 December, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: More than a month after the Nov 10 Bersih rally, 17 demonstrators were yesterday charged with taking part in the illegal assembly. PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu and Parti Keadilan Rakyat information chief Chua Tian Chang or better known as Tian Chua, and national integration chief, N. Gobalakrishnan, were among the opposition bigwigs on the charge sheet.

Two secondary students from Kedah were also among those who were charged at the Sessions Court yesterday.
The others were Mohd Salim Yeslam, 22, Ahmad Razali Abd Rahman, 50, Razali Abdul, 34, Mohd Asri Ahmad, 34, Muhd Harith Fatillah Shahabudin, 24, Saleh Mohamad Tahir, 47, Azahar Yusop, 43, Sulaiman Ahmad, 57, Taib Abdullah, 33, Mohd Abi Salam Ariffin, 25, Ishak Othman, 33, and Mohd Zad Abdullah, 39.
They were all accused of participating in unlawful assemblies at the national mosque compound, Jalan Istana Baru, Jalan Raja Laut and beside the Sogo department store in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman between 1pm and 4pm on Nov 10.
They were also charged with disobeying orders from police to disperse. All 17 claimed trial.
Tian Chua was represented by Ranjit Singh and C.H. Lai, while Gobalakrishnan was represented by G.K. Ganesan. Mohamad and the rest were represented by a team of 12 lawyers led by Mohamad Hanipah Maidin.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail in objecting to bail, pointed to an article from the Harakah online website where it was reported that Tian Chua and Mohamad were also planning to organise today’s rally at Parliament House.
He also told the court that police had obtained an ex-parte injunction barring people from participating in the proposed rally.
In his submission, Ganesan said there was no need to punish those who were being charged now with something that might or might not happen tomorrow.
He said the evidence which allowed the police to get an ex-parte injunction was through an affidavit and there was no opportunity for the accused to reply.
Ranjit submitted that the offences were not as severe when compared to murder or drug trafficking.
Mohd Hanipah said that the Harakah article was merely based on assumption and the Attorney-General’s evidence was mere allegation.
Judge Rozana Ali Yusoff granted bail of RM5,000 in one surety for both Mohamad Sabu and Tian Chua, while Gobalakrishnan was offered bail of RM3,000 in one surety.
The rest were granted bail of RM2,000 in one surety with the exception of two underaged youths who were granted bail of RM1,000.
Trial was fixed for three days beginning Feb 11.