BERSIH 2.0 condemns charges against BERSIH 2.0 vice-chair, 3 others, over candlelight vigil

MEDIA STATEMENT: (16 April 2014)
BERSIH 2.0 views the charges under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 against our South Peninsula Vice-Chairperson, Thomas Fann, and three other citizens over their attendance at a candlelight vigil in Johor Bahru as pure harassment on the state’s part.
The four are facing two charges of the PAA 2012: under Section 4(2)(b) for gathering at a restricted area (a petrol station) and Section 9(1) for not giving the police a 10-day notice as ‘organisers’ of a candlelight vigil for Adam Adli, who is now a BERSIH 2.0 Secretariat staff.
Fann, along with Koh Jit Huat, Mohd Salleh Ahmad and Steven Choong, will be charged at the Criminal Sessions Court in Johor Bahru on 20 April.
This case vindicates civil society’s opposition to the PAA as a law that is against the intent and spirit of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees every citizen the freedoms of speech, assembly and association.
As with the ongoing lawsuit against BERSIH 2.0 over damages to state property in the Bersih 3 Duduk Bantah rally, the trial of which will resume on 21 April, and the case against Major Zaidi Ahmad, the latest prosecution also signals the government’s priority and determination to show zero tolerance when it comes to voices of reason, justice and democracy.
BERSIH 2.0 wishes to stress that as citizens of a democracy, we must not be cowed by such intimidation. Instead, we must reclaim our fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly.
BERSIH 2.0 calls on supporters in Johor Bahru to show up in support of the four to be charged at the Sessions Court (Criminal 2) on 20 April at 9am, and for those in the Klang Valley to be at the NCVC1 KL Courts Complex from 21 to 25 April for the lawsuit against BERSIH 2.0.
Issued by the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee, which consists of:
Maria Chin Abdullah (Chairperson), Dr Farouk Musa (Deputy Chairperson), Masjaliza Hamzah (Treasurer), Farhana Halim, New Sin Yew, Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah Vice-chair), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak Vice-chair), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (East Peninsula Vice-chair), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula Vice-chair), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula Vice-chair) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula Vice-chair).