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Sabah police chief says arrests ‘lawful’

 | July 4, 2011

Sabah police's move to dispatch 70 personnel to arrest of seven members of the public for wearing yellow has made us a laughing stock, says PKR deputy chief Christina Liew.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib has defended the detention of seven people on Saturday for wearing yellow in support of the banned Bersih 2.0 rally.

“Everything was done within the ambit of the law. If they are not happy, they can lodge reports and we will look into those reports,” he said brushing off the incident that left city folk scratching their heads in bemusement at the police action.

The seven were detained on Saturday after they were seen having breakfast, in a coffee shop in Asia City, with an individual who was wearing a yellow t-shirt with the Bersih 2.0 logo.

Earlier at the same venue a musician had announced he and his friends were supporting the rally.

About 70 police personnel surrounded the group and took them to the nearby police station for questioning and they were finally released on bail about seven hours later.

Hamza declined to reveal more when asked about the police reports lodged against their detention at the Karamunsing police station on Sunday by six of the seven detained.

Among six was Ezral Ansari, the son of Tuaran PKR chief Ansari Abdullah, who said that the group went to the police station at 1.30pm to lodge the report.

He said others who lodged their reports were PKR youth exco member Dr Natassia Sarah and fellow party members Amin Ibrahim, Petrus Longkod, Mohd Shazwan Nadly and Sepanggar PAS member Adnan Abdullah.

Police said the seven were being investigated under Section 27(5) of the Police Act and Section 108 of the Penal Code which is being used against those wearing the Bersih t-shirts for the now-banned rally.

The first is for instigation and the second for abettment.

Violation of rights

In her immediate response Saturday, PKR Sabah deputy chairperson Christina Liew described the detentions as “arbitrary and a blatant violation of fundamental human rights”.

“This is outrageous. This is an act of intimidation of our citizens.

“Do you really have to dispatch such a huge team of police personnel just to arrest seven ordinary citizens, simply because they wore yellow t-shirts?

“It was not a ceramah or procession. It was just a friendly meal among friends.

“It is a blatant abuse of power, total violation of human right and an act of intimidation by the authority to say the least,” said Liew a practising lawyer who rushed to the aid of the seven on Saturday.

She said that the ongoing crackdown by the police on those who were wearing yellow-coloured shirt has made Malaysia a laughing stock.

“What has our country become now? A police state?

“The people have the right to wear any colour that they wanted to. What crime have they committed?

“Our citizens should not be subjected to such an intimidation by the authority as it is their right to demand for a clean and fair election,” she said.

The July 9 rally calling for clean and fair elections has spooked the government, which has lashed out with a series of arrests and crackdowns that has stunned both opposition and government figures though few of the latter would openly say so.

[Pix: File pix of people wearing the Bersih T-shirt]


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