Saturday, December 22, 2012

A sad day for freedom of peaceful assembly

A sad day for freedom of peaceful assembly ...freedom of expression when student is send to jail for exercising this fundamental human rights...

Malaysia, under the Barisan Nasional rule, has become a repressive country where its people have lost basic human rights...

It's off to Kajang Prison for 'Occupy Dataran' student
  • Nandini Balakrishnan and Leanne Tan
  • 5:12PM Dec 21, 2012
Umar Mohd Azmi, the 'Occupy Dataran' student who was jailed for a month and fined RM1,000 for obstructing a public officer, will spend his weekend in Kajang Prison after failing to obtain a stay of execution on his sentence.
NONEThe stay application was filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court immediately after a magistrate found him guilty this morning.

High Court judge Amelia Tee was ready to hear the matter in the afternoon, but Umar's counsel could not locate the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) responsible for the case.

Court officer Nur A’minatul Mardiah told Malaysiakini that the High Court could not proceed as the notice for the application “was not served on time” to the DPP.

“It is already late. He (the DPP) has already left,” Nur A’minatul said about 4.30pm.

As a result, Umar was this evening taken to the Kajang Prison to begin his jail sentence.

Commenting on the sentence, Umar’s lawyers, Syahredzan Johan said he was “surprised” that the magistrate's court imposed a jail on Umar and rejected the appeal for a stay.

The student’s other lawyer, Puspawati Rosman, said they were surprised because “the sentence is too heavy”.

Justice for Umar

This evening, about 10 students led by Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) said they would camp outside the Kajang Prison in support of Umar until Monday.

The SMM students, along with Umar’s parents, were present at the court today for a solemn protest, holding banners demanding justice for Umar.

Safwan Anang, who spearheaded the support group for Umar today, also feels that the sentence imposed is too heavy for a student activist.

“We just want justice for Umar… He was only a part of the peaceful protest.

“We are inviting the people to join us tonight for a candlelight vigil and for his hearing on Monday at the High Court to show support for Umar,” Safwan said.

NONEUmar’s father, Mohd Azmi Mohd Amin (on the right), expressed his disappointment over the sentence passed on to Umar.

“We have already paid the fine of RM1,000, and he still needs to go through the one-month jail sentence,” said Mohd Azmi who was spotted in a grave mood, giving his son words of encouragement.

Slipping a prayer book into Umar's pocket as the police officer escorted him away to prison, he said: “Read this…we will try our best (with the appeal).”
Umar, who was handcuffed, was also given a change of clothing for the weekend.

Deputy ministers question sentence

His application for the stay of his jail sentence and fine is scheduled to be heard before Justice Tee on Monday morning.

Umar was charged on April 23, under Section 186 of the Penal Code, with obstructing Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officer Mohd Masran Mamat from "apprehending and escorting" activist Mohd Fahmi Reza Mohd Zarin into custody.

This allegedly took place during a surprise DBKL raid on a protest camp at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur about 8am on April 22.

NONEDuring the protest dubbed 'Occupy Dataran’, student activists had occupied the iconic square in protest against the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) student loan scheme, which they claim is unfair.

Responding to Umar’s sentencing, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Gan Ping Sieu questioned whether the jailing him was necessary, even though he disagreed with abolishing PTPTN loans.

“There is a price to pay for civil disobedience versus rule of law. But administration of criminal justice must commensurate with the severity of the offence,” Gan wrote in his Twitter account.

PKR's Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, too, voiced out against Umar’s prison sentence in her tweet, saying: “A child rapist was released but Umar is jailed for one month – What is happening?”

Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, too, expressed reservations.

“(I) can’t comment. But given (the) choice, I wouldn’t bring to court,” Saifuddin responded to a question on Umar's jailing from another Twitter user.- Malaysiakini, 21/12/2012, It's off to Kajang Prison for 'Occupy Dataran' student

No comments: