Press Statement: Six human rights lawyers/ activists, R.Sivarasa (also MP for Subang), N.Surendran, Latheefa Koya, Eric Paulsen, Amer Hamzah and Johny Andu today filed a civil suit at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for their unlawful arrest and detention during the Human Rights Day walk on 9 December 2007 which was held to commemorate World Human Rights Day that is celebrated all over the world.

The lawyers/ activists named Che Hamzah Che Ismail, the OCPD of IPD Dang Wangi as the First Defendant. He acted as the “Ground Commander” for the operation against the human rights day event which led to the unlawful arrest and detention even though he had given permission for the participants to walk. Also named as co-defendants are Ketua Polis Negara, Kementerian Dalam Negeri and Kerajaan Malayia.

The unlawful arrest and detention led to them being detained overnight in the police lockup and charged on the next day at the KL Sessions Court (1) on exaggerated, malicious and frivolous charges under Section 143 and 145 of the Penal Code (unlawful assembly with the intention to cause public nuisance) and alternatively under Section 27 of the Police Act (unlawful assembly).

During the charge, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had outrageously and in bad faith tried to object to the bail application on the ground that since the accused persons had not adhered to the police warning not to assemble and walk, they pose a threat to national security! Bail was however granted to the lawyers/ activists on a “personal bond” of RM2,000 without surety. On 16 April 2009, at the end of the prosecution’s case, the judge bravely discharged and acquitted the accused persons of all charges.

In addition to unlawful arrest and detention, the lawyers/ activists are also claiming that they were the victims of malicious prosecution as the facts and circumstances of the case do not support such charges at all, and that the police had falsely and maliciously implicated them.

As a result of all these acts, the lawyers/ activists are among other things claiming for a declaration that their constitutional rights have been violated and that the police have acted wrongfully and unlawfully.They are also claiming exemplary and aggravated damages as it is right and fit to do so in this case as the police have clearly acted in manners that are oppressive, bothersome, intimidating, arbitrary, and frivolous and in breach of the Constitution, the law and procedures.

The suit was filed by Messrs Daim & Gamany. For further information, please contact N.Surendran at 012-320 7066 or Latheefa Koya at 012-384 2972.

Released by:

Lawyers for Liberty