Monday, April 26, 2010

APCET: When the court rules in favour of the people, the government just cannot accept it

Apcet II case: Gov't files to reverse judgement
Regina Lee
Apr 26, 10
The government will be filing to reverse the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment which ordered it to pay RM30,000 each to 29 human rights activists and journalists.

This comes just five months after the court ruled in favour of the 29 in a civil suit where they accused the police of wrongfully detaining them, following Umno Youth's disruption of the Apcet II civil society gathering in Kuala Lumpur more than a decade ago.

The letter by the Attorney-General's chambers obtained by Malaysiakini, said that judge Wan Ahmad Muhamad was erroneous in the law and the facts of the case when he decided that the defendants acted illegally in detaining the plaintiffs.

"The judge was also erroneous when he awarded the plaintiffs RM30,000 each and with an annual interest of eight percent from the date the case was filed until judgement.

"The judge was erroneous when he decided that the defendants should bear the cost of legal proceedings for the plaintiffs," the letter said.

Long trial

The judgement on Dec 22 last year, ordered the government to pay a total of RM870,000 in general damages.

The local activists and journalists had initially filed a RM87 million suit against the government two years after the incident.

The suit was filed against the government after the group's "wrongful detention" at the Second Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor (Apcet II) on Nov 9, 1996.

The international conference was organised to discuss human rights abuses in East Timor and its struggle for independence from Indonesia.

apcet ii hearing mob photos 100306 loud speakerHeld at the Asia Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, the function turned unruly when a mob led by Umno Youth stormed the venue and harassed the 100 participants.

About 400 members of the Umno Youth-led Barisan Bertindak Rakyat Malaysia (BBRM), or Malaysia's People's Action Front, charged in and disrupted the meeting as it was about to begin.

They broke down the conference hall doors, flung chairs and verbally and physically abused the participants.

Police then moved in to arrest the participants, who were detained for between one and six days, while 40 foreign participants were deported.
A total of 36 activists and journalists originally filed the law suit. However, four withdrew, one passed away and two did not appear to provide testimony during the trial.

Among the high-profile plaintiffs are:

pkr national congress 301108 syed husin ali1) Former PRM secretary-general Sanusi Othman
2) PKR deputy president and senator Syed Husin Ali (right)
3) Batu parliamentarian Tian Chua
4) Malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran
5) Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan
6) Malaysian Trade Union Congress president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamad.

Others include Subang MP R Sivarasa, Parti Sosialis Malaysia president Dr Nasir Hashim and former New Era College principal Kua Kia Soong.

The defendants are former Kuala Lumpur police chief Ismail Che' Ros, former Dang Wangi OCPD Zainal Abidin Ali, investigations officer chief inspector Tengku Hamzah Tengku Abdullah, the Inspector General of Police and the Malaysian government.

The trial also heard shocking testimonies by the Umno youth secretary then, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who said that he the then deputy home minister, the late Megat Junid Megat Ayob, had ordered for him to disrupt the proceedings a full month before the function was held.

Saifuddin is now PKR strategy director and has since issued a public apology over his role.- Malaysiakini, 26/4/2010, Apcet II case: Gov't files to reverse judgement

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