LFL Press Statement
1 September 2015
Gross abuse of power in mass arrest and detention of Rumah Api
Lawyers for Liberty is shocked and appalled at the police’s raid of independent music venue Rumah Api during the ‘Party Tonight, Revolution Tomorrow’ event on the eve of #Bersih4 where more than a hundred persons including the venue owners, band members and gig-goers were arrested and remanded en masse for investigations, ostensibly for offences under sections 124B and 143 of the Penal Code and section (4)(1)(b) of the Sedition Act.
It is quite incomprehensible how the police came to the conclusion that youths enjoying live underground music can be anything criminal much less, be arrested and remanded for several days for activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy, unlawful assembly and sedition.
Surely the police cannot be so literal-minded and irrational to base the raid solely on the theme of the event and seriously thought that the gig-goers would go on a ‘revolution’ on the next day?
A measure of the blame unfortunately must also go to the magistrate for rubber-stamping the police’s application for remand when clearly there was no merit in arresting and investigating these youths for the alleged offences.
There should be no doubt that these arrests and detentions are preposterous, clearly done in bad faith and constitute a gross abuse of power and the legal process aimed at punishing youths for participating in any Bersih-related events, no matter how remote.
We call on the police to go back to basics – to be a professional, impartial and competent police force in maintaining law and order, preventing and detecting real crimes and apprehending real criminals rather than be concerned with frivolous matters like youths enjoying underground live music. All equipment and materials seized should also be returned to the rightful owners.
Lawyers for Liberty
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