Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bar Calls For End of Harrrassment of lawyers ...surendran, etc..


The Malaysian Bar has come out calling that harassment of lawyers like N. Surendran be stopped.

But this may not be just harrassment of lawyers - but part of a new trend of harrassing critics of the government and its officers...
Press Release

Cease Harassment of Advocates Performing their Duties

The independence of the Bar is critical to the Rule of Law. This means that lawyers must be free to act for their clients without fear or favour. Unfortunately, over the course of the last several months, this independence has been threatened each time the police have called in lawyers for questioning on matters relating to the execution of their professional duties.

We are perturbed that the police served a Section 111 notice on lawyer N. Surendran in relation to statements he allegedly made to the magistrate in court in the course of proceedings. N. Surendran was questioned today by the police pursuant to a police report made against him for the alleged statements. We are seriously concerned, as no offence appears to have been committed and the police were unable to enlighten him as to what offence they are investigating.

We therefore view the police questioning as an act of pure harassment and intimidation that encroaches upon the ability of an advocate and solicitor, who is an officer of the court, to perform his duties effectively and to the best of his ability.

This harassment must stop if we are indeed committed to the principle of access to justice and to the Rule of Law. It is internationally recognised that lawyers perform a vital function when they act for their clients in the pursuit of justice. It is also internationally recognised that they must be permitted to carry out these functions freely.

This principle, which protects all citizens, must be understood and respected by the authorities.

Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan


Malaysian Bar

6 November 2008

Lawyer, N. Surendran called to be present at the IPD Putrajaya by reason of the fact that the police are investigating his making of statement in court. Mr Surendran said the police was negligent, and it was in light of fact that diabetic Lourdes Mary was denied her required medication - resulting in her leg swelling, her fainting in court and taken immediately to hospital.

Rather than investigate the allegation of 'negligence" - they are investigating the lawyer that made that remark in court...WHY?

Putrajaya police today recorded statements from lawyer

N Surendran over his allegation in court that police were negligent in ensuring the well-being of one of his clients.

Surendran, however, said the police did not get much out of him as he had refused to answer more than one question until they informed him of the offence he was being investigated for.

hindraf probed by police 141008 surendran"According to the police report (shown to me), investigations were in relation to what I told the Kajang Magistrate. But when we asked what was the specific offense, the investigating officer could not tell us.

"Police can’t randomly call up people for questioning without notifying them of the offense," he said when contacted today.

Surendran was among a team of lawyers representing 10 individuals in a remand hearing on Oct 24 after they were arrested outside the prime minister’s office the day before.

The 10 were accompanying 6-year-old W Vwaishhnnavi, daughter of Hindraf chairperson-in-exile P Waytha Moorthy and her mother K Shanti in handing a letter to the prime minister.

During the remand hearing, one detainee NV Lourdes Mary, 44, fainted. Lourdes Mary is a diabetic and did not have access to insulin while in detention.

After she fainted, Surendran allegedly told Kajang Magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari that the police were negligent in ensuring Lourdes Mary’s well-being.

Surendran said based on the police report against him, it appeared that the police were solely examining his statement about Lourdes Mary.

"The only conclusion we can come to is that this is an attempt to harass lawyers who are trying to perform their duties," he said.- Malaysiakini, 6/11/2008 - Another lawyer questioned by police

What happened to Surendran has been happened before ...and it is something that must stop...

Surendran was accompanied by his lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah. Among the lawyers who turned up in a show of support for Surendran today included Bar Council president Ambiga Sreevenasan and her deputy K Ragunath.

ambiga sreenevasanContacted for comments later, Ambiga said the Bar Council was concerned over the latest trend of lawyers being called in for questioning in relation to the performance of their duties.

"This is a dangerous trend because it affects the independence of lawyers in protecting the interest of their clients," she said.

In July, a total of four lawyers were questioned in relation to the controversial statutory declaration made by private investigator P Balasubramaniam who is now ‘missing’. Bala later retracted his first declaration, saying he made it under duress.

Back then, the Bar Council had expressed concern that police tactics would undermine lawyer-client privileges.- Malaysiakini, 6/11/2008 - Another lawyer questioned by police

Some say that the government wants people to stop criticizing its political leaders, its police and etc...

When matters were alleged by RPK about Najib (DPM) - he was charged with a criminal offence (WHY? Should this not be left to Najib, etc who may or may not choose to file a civil defamation suit or not...)

When matters are alleged about the in this case. Are they trying to make it a criminal offence as well.

Criticize...and we will charge you in court - is this the new approach by the BN-government, the police and the AG chambers

We shall see...we shall see

We need to not stop at what is happening to the lawyer

BUT to need to also look seriously at Healthcare obligations and duties of police need immediate attention.

Does current Lock-up conditions and way detainees are treated pose a health threat to detainees?

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