9 months later, activists questioned over ‘Free Maria’ walk


KUALA LUMPUR: Two activists were today questioned by police in connection with the “Free Maria” walk which took place last year.

However, women’s rights activist Ivy Josiah and All Women’s Action Society (Awam) former president Ho Yock Lin were not told what they were being investigated for, said lawyer Honey Tan.

Tan, who accompanied Josiah and Ho during the questioning, said the police did not indicate whether they were being questioned under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

“The questions that we were asked were all about the Nov 23 Bebas Maria walk,” she told reporters outside the Dang Wangi police headquarters, where some 30 people comprising NGO representatives and activists had gathered since 2pm.

Josiah said the ordeal was “annoying” as they were questioned about an event that had taken place nine months ago.

“After nine months, they come after us now. Really, it is harassment. It’s unnecessary, and it’s time-consuming,” she said.

Ho said the police had done a professional job of questioning them but agreed with Josiah that it was “harassment” from a higher authority.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah meanwhile said the questioning was “pure intimidation and harassment”, adding that there had been “bigger offenders” let loose.

Besides Tan, four other lawyers accompanied Josiah and Ho for questioning: Matt Wong, Firdaus Husni, Vivian Kuan and Rajsurian Pillai.

Also present were social activist Marina Mahathir and lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan.

On Nov 23 last year, more than 500 women marched from Padang Merbok to the Parliament building, demanding Maria’s release from jail.

Maria, who had been detained a day before the Bersih 5 rally on Nov 18, was held in solitary confinement for 10 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.

Her lawyers filed an application to free her on Nov 22, and the government was given time to file an affidavit as to the grounds for detention.

She was released on Nov 28, a day before her application was scheduled to be heard.