Tuesday, June 21, 2022

“Police must apologise to M’sian Bar for denying rights for a peaceful assembly”(Focus Malaysia)

“Police must apologise to M’sian Bar for denying rights for a peaceful assembly”

ABOUT 19 groups have issued a joint statement calling for the immediate end of harassment of the Malaysian Bar and lawyers by the police in the wake of police action to prevent about 500 lawyers from exercising their right to peaceful assembly in the “Walk for Judicial independence” last Friday (June 17).

The lawyers earlier had gathered at the Padang Merbok car park to walk to the Parliament about 1km away to hand over a memorandum to the Prime Minister but were prevented by the police from doing so.

The 19 groups include Aliran Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN), the Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET), Sisters in Islam, Tenaganita, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) and Centre for Human Rights Research & Advocacy (CENTHRA).

The joint statement also called for the relevant police officers, Inspector-General of Police, the minister in charge and/or the Government to issue a public apology to the Malaysian Bar and lawyers for their actions that frustrated the exercise of the lawyers’ rights of peaceful assembly.

Above all else, the joint statement stressed that Malaysia must defend and promote the right of peaceful assembly which must also include human rights education to the police and other law enforcement bodies.

The joint statement further noted that the Malaysian Bar has submitted the required notification to the police on June 7 which was more than five days before the intended march.

According to law, the police must inform the organiser of any restrictions or conditions within three days from the receipt of notification but there was none in this case within the stipulated time.

Instead, on the eve of the intended march (June 16), the police suddenly “denied permission” for the lawyers to march to the Parliament by only allowing them to assemble at the meeting point in Padang Merbok.

“It would have been most frustrating, for the hundreds of lawyer, some of who travelled hundreds of kilometres to march to Parliament to find themselves confined to a car park far away from the public eye,” noted the joint statement.

Section 14 (1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 states that “… the Officer in Charge of the Police District shall respond to the notification under subsection 9(1) within three days of the receipt of the notification and shall, in response, inform the organiser of the restrictions and conditions imposed under section 15, if any …”

Meanwhile, Section 14(2) clearly outlines that “If the officer in charge of the police district does not respond to the notification in accordance with subsection (1), the assembly shall proceed as proposed in the notification.”

Malaysian Bar chairman Karen Cheah hands over a memorandum of protest to deputy de facto Law Minister Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyanti Shamsudin

The march to Parliament was pursuant to a resolution adopted at the Malaysian Bar extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held on May 27.

It came in light of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation on SRC International Sdn Bhd trial judge Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who had earlier this year been elevated to the Court of Appeal.

At the High Court, Justice Mohd Nazlan had found former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak guilty on all seven counts in relation to abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering of SRC funds, of which the Pekan MP was sentenced to 12 years jail and fined RM210 mil. – June 20, 2022, Focus Malaysia

See Full Media Statement:- 

Stop Harassment of the Malaysian Bar and Lawyers – Respect Right to Peaceful Assembly (19 Group Statement)

# Now 20 groups with the endorsement of  the National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAW), Malaysia


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