G25 demands immediate release of Bersih chief


KUALA LUMPUR: The G25 group has demanded the immediate release of Bersih 2.0 Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah.

G25, the Group of 25 Eminent Persons, also demanded the return of Bersih 2.0’s files, documents, laptops and other devices which had been seized by the police.

G25 said the public demanded to know what terrorist activity Maria had undertaken to warrant her detention under Sosma.

“It’s highly mystifying and a blatant abuse of Sosma to detain Chin under this law,” said G25 in a statement. “The government action was high handed and a travesty of justice of the highest order.”

The group said it had learned that Maria had been placed in solitary confinement. She was reportedly in a windowless cell, 15 feet by 8 feet, with no bed, mattress or pillow.

“It’s unbelievable the government could subject an innocent woman, a mother of three children, to such cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” said G25.

It pointed out that Maria was merely exercising her constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression, and to assemble peacefully.

The statement noted that Malaysia prided itself as a civilised country, governed by the rule of law.

“We have a written Constitution that guarantees, among others, freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom to assemble peacefully,” added G25.

Sadly, it said, Maria’s treatment was reminiscent of authoritarian regimes and cruel dictatorships that oppress citizens.

Maria was arrested last Friday, on the eve of the Bersih 5 rally, and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

Section 4(3) of Sosma, said G25, clearly provided that, “No person shall be arrested and detained under this section solely for his political belief or political activity”.

Since April 23, 2012, under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the requirement to obtain a licence from the police no longer exists.

All that was required was for the organiser of the public assembly to notify the police at least 10 days before the intended public rally (Section 9(1) of the PAA), it said.