|ISA Rally – Utter violations of human rights by the police and FRU|
|Sunday, 02 August 2009 01:45pm|
Contributed by Noor Arianti Osman
Photos by Kavitha Sitartha & Seira Sacha Abu Bakar
The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) this afternoon tear-gassed, sprayed chemical water and the Police arrested some 400 anti-ISA protestors. 25 lawyers from the Bar Council Human Rights Committee (BCHRC) Monitoring Team headed by the Chairman, Andrew Khoo, were present to observe the anti-ISA rally, where the Police and FRU violated the people’s right to a peaceful assembly to deter them from protesting a draconian detention without trial law that violates the people’s right to a fair trial.
The BCHRC Monitoring Team were broken-up to small groups to monitor the treatment received by the protestors around 3 principal locations in Masjid Jamek, SOGO and Masjid Negara where the anti-ISA supporters had been gathering since morning and at Padang Merbok (Jalan Parlimen) where, we were informed, the Pewaris members were supposed to gather for their pro-ISA counter rally.
It was reported by the observers that, as what happened during Bersih and Hindraf rallies before, the assembly at every meeting point today was a peaceful one until the FRU started shooting chemical water and tear gas canisters to disperse the people. The instigation caused the people to start running in all directions to save themselves and the Police on stand-by started arresting any men, women and children within their grab range.
This, in turn, coupled with the road closures since early morning by the police, caused massive traffic jam around Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas.
The BCHRC Monitoring Team also observed the disquieting reasons used by the police to justify the arrests. Puspawati Rosman, a lawyer from the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (LAC) Urgent Arrest team was arrested for distributing the Bar Council flyers called, the Red Book – Police and Your Basic Rights. A lot of the protestors were arrested for wearing or possession (tucked inside their bags) of the anti-ISA t-shirts in the absence of any form of aggressions. The former violates the people’s right to legal aid and the latter violates the people’s right to freedom of expression.
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA activists, Norlaila Othman and Narshita Md Noor together with their children were detained as early as 12.30 pm today, for standing around Masjid Jamek area, before the rally had even started.
Despite being severely impaired by the tear gas and having suffered from the chemical water sprayed by the FRU while monitoring from the sidelines, the BCHRC Monitoring Team received noteworthy treatment from the Police, as there was no direct aggression or arrest attempts against the BCHRC Monitoring team throughout the assignment.
As at 12 am Sunday (2/8/2009), about 15 lawyers from the LAC Urgent Arrest Team, together with the new CEO of the Bar Council, Rajen Devaraj, were at the Bukit Jalil Police Station where they are seeking to provide legal representation to MP Sivarasa and 50 others who are still being detained.
Watch this space for more detailed reports and photos from both the BCHRC Monitoring Team and LAC Urgent Arrest Team.
Source (and photos at) :