KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Amnesty International demanded today the release of Batu MP Chua Tian Chang who was last week sentenced to a month’s jail after being convicted of trespassing the restricted police training centre (Pulapol) here in 2012.
Despite the conviction, the international human rights watchdog insisted the PKR vice-president’s arrest was unlawful as he was just exercising his basic rights in a peaceful protest.
“The Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release opposition lawmaker Chua Tian Chang, who Amnesty International regards as a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for exercising his human rights peacefully,” it said in a statement.
The group also said the arrest of Chua, better known as Tian Chua, shows an “alarming abuse of power” by authorities against government critics.Chua was charged under Section 4 (2) of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959 after he allegedly disobeyed police orders by refusing to leave Pulapol after being released.
He was initially arrested with 512 people who attended the Bersih 3 rally here that year calling for electoral reform.
The offence is punishable by a jail term of up to two years, a fine of no more than RM1,000 or both.
Chua withdrew his appeal against his 2014 conviction last week and will serve a month in jail as well as pay a fine of RM1,000.
He would have automatically lost his parliamentary seat if he had been sentenced to a year or more in jail.
Amnesty noted that Chua still two other court cases pending and may yet lose his seat and the right to contest in elections if he were to be found guilty and sentenced for the offences that carry a jail term of up to three months and an additional fine of RM4,000.