HRW calls for charges against activists to be dropped

Source: FMT

Malaysia’s blanket ban on street marches was legal overreach, betrays paranoia about organized protests.

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on authorities in Malaysia to drop charges against eight activists and politicians who allegedly participated in “street protests” in Kuala Lumpur in February and March last year.

The street protests, noted Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, were “peaceful”.

He was commenting on the Federal Court hearing, on October 10, on the constitutional challenge on the ban on street protests.

“Malaysia’s blanket ban on street marches was legal overreach,” said Robertson in a statement. “It betrays paranoia about organized protests.”

However the Federal Court rules, he said, the government should return to the drawing board for a law that respects the right to peaceful assembly.

Peaceful marches and street protests are a legitimate way of expressing dissent, added the NGO Chief. “They should not be the basis for criminal charges.”

Robertson reiterated the Malaysian Government should immediately drop the charges against all the KitaLawan protesters. “It should also amend the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) to comply with international standards,” he stressed.

The right to peaceful assembly was not limited to static protests, he pointed out. “It also protects processions and other forms of ‘moving’ assemblies.” Read more

IGP’s silence on ‘thuggery’ by Red Shirts queried

Source: FMT News

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang wants to know what would have happened if Bersih 5 supporters had run amok like the Red Shirts. Pic taken from FMT News

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang wants to know what would have happened if Bersih 5 supporters had run amok like the Red Shirts. Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang wants to know what Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar had done in the past three days to protect the rights of civil society organizations to assemble peacefully.

“More than 72 hours have passed since the hooliganism and thuggery exhibited by the Red Shirts in Teluk Intan,” noted Lim in a statement. “There’s not a squeak either from the IGP or the other top police officers.”

Lim, who is also Gelang Patah MP and DAP Parliamentary Leader, wants the IGP to explain the division in the police ranks.

The Johor Baru police could act in full regard for their law and order responsibilities with the Bersih 5 convoy, he pointed out. “The police in Teluk Intan failed dismally in the discharge of their basic duties.”

The DAP veteran urged the IGP to commend the police in Johor Baru and castigate his men in Teluk Intan.

What would have happened if Bersih 5 supporters had been as unruly, provocative and violent as the Red Shirts in Teluk Intan on Saturday? asked Lim.

Undoubtedly, he said, the IGP would have tweeted for the whole world to know. He would have tweeted his “instant” directive to police officers to bring the offenders to book or hunt them down if they do not surrender within 24 hours, alleged Lim. Read more