Bersih trio freed

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Feb 18, 08

Three members from the poll reform group Coalition For Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) were released unconditionally today.
When contacted, their lawyer Amer Hamzah said no reasons were given for their unconditional release.
Those freed were PKR Information Chief Tian Chua (right), the party’s media coordinator Ginnie Lim and PAS member Jalaluddin Abdul Manap.
Tian and Jalaluddin were arrested last Friday when they and other Bersih members wanted to hand over a memorandum to the King at Istana Negara.
Lim was arrested the next day while she was at the Brickfields police station where both Tian and Jalaluddin were being held to demand that the two be released.
Royal commission
In their memorandum, Bersih had demanded that a royal commission on electoral reform be set up after the general election.
Apart from this, the group had also demanded for:
– The Election Commission (EC) to make the use of indelible ink compulsory for all voters as at the moment, a voter can refuse to be marked by the ink.
– The abolishment of postal voting for armed forces and police personnel.
– Free and fair media access for all parties and candidates.
– A 21-day campaign period.
During the polling date announcement last Thrursday, EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman could not confirm whether the use of indelible ink will be implemented for the upcoming elections.
There have been concerns over the introduction of some of the new anti-fraud measures as election laws have not been amended to make them legally binding.
Rose campaign detainees to be freed
In the meantime, two members from the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) group who had participated in Saturday’s rose campaign will be freed on police bail today according to Amer.
However, it is not certain as to when they will be released. They are currently at the Kuala Lumpur Remand Centre in Jalan Hang Tuah.
The two were among hundred over arrested on Saturday’s peaceful gathering at Jalan Raja Laut where they intended to accompany 200 children who had wanted to hand over roses as a peaceful gesture to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
All except nine were released on the day of the arrest itself. Six others, including rose campaign coordinator S Manickavasagam were released early Sunday morning. One more, a woman, was released yesterday evening.
Roses and the children were the peaceful symbol requesting that Abdullah heed the group’s 18-point demands.
Police fired teargas and chemical-laced water cannons to disperse some the campaign supporters. Hindraf supporters felt that the police had used unnecessary force on them but the latter had justified their action as the gathering was deemed to be illegal.