JAKARTA — Parliamentarians from across Southeast Asia today joined the growing chorus of civil society groups and human rights advocates calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Maria Chin Abdullah, Chairperson of Bersih 2.0, a movement for clean government and free and fair elections in Malaysia.
MPs also called for the repeal of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), an anti-terror law which was invoked following Ms. Chin’s arrest on Friday.
“SOSMA is a security law designed to arrest terrorists. There is no justification for its use in this case and it is clearly being abused. Maria Chin Abdullah is not a terrorist; she is a human rights defender and a committed citizen promoting peaceful public activism. She must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament and Chairperson of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).
Maria Chin Abdullah was arrested the night of Friday, 18 November under Section 124C of the Penal Code, which outlaws “attempts to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” On Saturday authorities revealed that she was also being investigated under SOSMA, which allows for her detention without charge for up to 28 days. Read more