Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fathers Day appeal by Hindraf - 3 PKR MP and Hindraf Lawyer arrested

Three PKR MPs arrested, then released

Mkini- S Pathmawathy Jun 14, 08 11:25am

Three opposition MPs and three others were arrested during a protest against the ISA detention of the Hindraf 5 outside the King’s palace today.

The three legislators held were PKR vice president Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang), PKR supreme council member S Manikavasagam (Kapar) and PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang).The others arrested were event organiser Lourdes Mary, human rights lawyer N Surendran and Zuraida’s special officer Salmah Ismail.They were brought to the Brickfields police station for questioning. After spending more than two hours there, they were released at 12.30pm on police bail and must report to the police station on June 27.

The six were arrested during an event in which 50 children representing Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees were supposed to hand teddy bears to the palace in a symbolic Father's Day gesture. The event today was part of an on-going campaign to call for all ISA detainees to be freed and that the law, which allows for detention without trial, be abolished. Sivarasa, Surendran and Manikavasagam were seen negotiating with the police to allow the gathering to proceed, but were arrested shortly after as they refused police orders to disperse.

Full view of tourists

Speaking to reporters after his release, lawyer Surendran challenged the basis of his arrest and claimed that the police were attempting to stifle civil society from expressing their grouses.“The arrest is completely baseless as we were only standing there (outside the palace) before the actual crowd arrived. The next moment we were asked to evacuate the area. The arrest was clearly an abuse of power,” he said Sivarasa said that he and the other two MPs were trying to negotiate with the police for the gathering to proceed, but were instead asked to leave the area. “They (police) didn’t want to listen to us, so we decide to let them arrest us,” he added.“What we regret the most is that over 200 tourists were watching when the police were instructing us to leave. This clearly shows that Malaysia is a police state.”

Approached by reporters later, Brickfields district police chief ACP Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said that the six individuals detained were obstructing the police from performing their duties.