Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Surendran: Press Release On HRP Arrests

We are gravely concerned over the arrests of 65 members and supporters of the Human Rights Party (HRP) by police on 13.2.11 for having participated in a peaceful convoy event. These were planned and concerted arrests which took place nationwide and intended to persecute and intimidate HRP members. These arrests are unlawful,oppressive and in breach of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees the Rakyat’s right to freedom of assembly and expression. Once again the government and police have displayed blatant disregard for the rule of law and democratic freedoms.

We are also disturbed that among those arrested were 5 children who were also detained and interrogated by police. This action by police is in bad faith and gross disregard of laws protecting minors. No access to lawyers was granted to any of the detainees including the children. The arrests were also carried out with excessive force and vulgar abuse was heaped upon some of those arrested. It is reported that a Malaysiakini citizen journalist was also assaulted by police.

To make things worse, 24 arrested HRP members are still being held at IPD Seremban simply because they had objected to the unlawful confiscation of their Hindraf Makkal Sakthi shirts. To continue to detain them for this reason is in complete breach of the law and demonstrates the arbitrary conduct of the police.

We call for the immediate release of the 24 persons being unjustly held at IPD Seremban. We call upon the police to release and discharge all of those arrested unconditionally. We call upon the IGP and Home Ministry to respect the Federal Constitution and the people’s right to peaceably gather. We call upon the government to cease using police powers to stifle political dissent and to persecute legitimate opponents of the Government. Finally, we demand that the Government establish the IPCMC immediately to prevent the Home Ministry and police from continuing to abuse their powers. The Malaysian Government must pay close regard to the march of democratic and civilised norms as seen in the great events in Egypt, and cease to trample upon the rights of the people.