Monday, December 10, 2007

MORE PICS & Video – 9 in Aborted Rights March Charged & Released on Bail on Human Rights Day; Nazri Accuses Bar Meddling Nation’s Affairs

ABOVE: The magnificent 9 (BELOW) who came to the Session Court on Dec 10 - the Human Rights Day will be remembered in the annals of Malaysian History

Malaysiakini has all the eraly stories on the Aborted March etc

MORE PICS Coming.. loading pics

Eight people, including five lawyers, are charged with illegal assembly and failure to disperse at the human rights march yesterday while another lawyer is charged with obstructing DBKL officials from tearing down posters. They also faced a further charge of disobeying the police order to disperse. The Trial Date is 28 Jan 2008. 8 released on RM2000 bail, whilst Edmund Bon on RM1000K.

The Government is running scare and they cannot even trust the professional lawyers and human rights friends to take an early morning scroll down an empty street on a Sunday Morning with some of the children tagging along (for those without maids or child minders rather than leave them at home). There is no significance in them joining for the walk.

Just a twenty minute walk over a distance of 2 km without almost ALL the shops closed on a Sunday. Is it public order or public image that is frightening the daylights out of a ‘democratic government” that the TNS-Gallup polls have declared to be a Government for the people and by the people. What is there to fear if there is “nothing to hide and if everything is done in a “clean and above board” manner? Or things are just appeared to be in good shape superficially (eg the transparent ballot boxes) under the rug or carpet which once is pulled up, no vacuum cleaner is big enough to suck away all the accumulated “wrong doings”

If the country’s image is intact, built on solid foundation and we earned it, no amount varnishing or tarnishing can change it. If we are an “outer space” nation with one Space tourist image, no amount of apple polishing will also change or tarnish that image if the Angkasawan has the habit of hitching a ride even on the Red Arrows in Langkawai.
Even on record (video clip being compiled & loaded) someone “big” has debunked the theory all these few walks and strolls down the streets of
Kuala Lumpur can affect the investors.

Eight In People's Freedom Walk Claim Trial
By M. Santhiran

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 (Bernama) -- Four lawyers and four activists pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here today to two charges of being in an unlawful assembly and failing to adhere to police orders to disperse. They were alleged to have participated in yesterday's "People's Freedom Walk" in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Lawyers Amer Hamzah Arshad, Latheefa Beebi Koya, N. Surendran and K. Sivarasa and activists Eric Paulsen, Johny Andu @ Abu Bakar Adnan, Nooraza Othman and Ashraf Ali Sadakathullah also claimed trial to two alternative charges of taking part in the illegal assembly and failing to adhere to police orders to disperse. They allegedly committed the offences in front of the Kamdar building in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman between 8.10am and 8.50am yesterday. On the first count of being in an unlawful assembly, the eight were charged under section 143 of the Penal Code. If convicted, they face a term of up to six months imprisonment or fine, or both.

They also face an alternative charge under section 27(5)(a) of the Police Act 1967 of taking part in an illegal assembly which carries a fine of between RM2,000 and RM10,000 or a year's jail. The second charge under section 145 of the Penal Code accuses the eight of continuing to be in an unlawful assembly, knowing that the police had commanded them to disperse. If convicted, they can be jailed up to two years or fined, or both. They also face an alternative charge of being members of an unlawful assembly and failing to adhere to an order by Supt Che Hamzah Che Ismail to disperse. In the same court, lawyer Edmund Bon Tai Soon, 33, claimed trial to obstructing a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officer from removing a banner in front of the Bar Council office in Jalan Lebuh Pasar at about 12.15pm yesterday. Bon, the Bar Council's human rights committee chairman, had allegedly committed the offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code and faces up to three years in jail or a maximum fine of RM1,000, or both, if convicted.

ABOVE: AG Gani Patail had his nightmares and imaginary fears of more public disorder and more unlawful assemblies

Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail urged the court to deny them bail as the offences were non-bailable or compoundable. He said the eight had committed a serious offence and urged the court to take a serious view of the case as such illegal assemblies might escalate, resulting in public disorder. "They may argue that it is not a serious offence but the prosecution will prove that their actions may lead to public disorder and more unlawful assemblies," he said. At this juncture, laughter broke out in the courtroom, which was packed mostly with lawyers, prompting Gani to tell the court that this was no laughing matter as it involved national security. Gani pointed out that the walk itself was not sanctioned by the Bar Council and that the prosecution had video evidence to prove that children were also present during the demonstration. He argued that the demonstrators had clearly showed their defiance when police repeatedly ordered them to disperse. On Bon's case, Gani said it was a serious offence for anyone to obstruct a public servant from discharging his duty.

He said that in this case, the DBKL officer had just removed a banner tied between two trees, in front the Bar Council's premises. Gani proposed that if the court decided to grant bail to the accused, the bail should also state that they refrain from taking part in any unlawful assembly, until the case was over. P. Puravelan, lead counsel for the eight, said the issue of bail was merely to ensure their attendance in court and denying them bail was tantamount to punishing them before the trial even started. "The AG is just speculating that there will be more street demonstrations," he said, adding that the "People's Freedom Walk" was not a demonstration against the government. He said the Bar Council had been organising the event for the past two years in conjunction with Human Rights Day. "Even Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk M. Kayveas, had attended the event. "Another counsel, K. Ragunath, said the burden was on the prosecution to prove why the court should deny bail.
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December 10, 2007 20:01 PM

Syed Hamid Lambasts Opposition Leaders Tarnishing Country's Image

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 (Bernama) -- Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid lbar has rapped opposition leaders who travelled to foreign countries to tarnish Malaysia's image to gain political mileage. He said it was the responsibility of all Malaysians to maintain the country's good name. "Safeguarding the country's dignity and image is the collective responsibility of all members of society," he said in reply to Senator Datuk Dr Norraesah Mohamad in the Dewan Negara here today. Syed Hamid cited the example of a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader who had spread lies about Malaysia in the Indonesian media. To address the problem, he said, the ministry had taken proactive measures to explain to the Indonesian public that whatever action taken by the Malaysian government was based on this country's laws and was not discriminatory in nature. He said the management of Malaysia's foreign policies was based on long-term relations and not issue-oriented. "The ministry will try its best to correct misunderstandings as we value relations between our two countries," he added.

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December 10, 2007 18:28 PM

Nazri Doubts Appointment Of Bar Council Members

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 (Bernama) -- Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz expressed doubts over the appointments of office bearers in the Bar Council, claiming that their elections were disputed. "While their internal democracy issues cannot be solved, they are now trying to meddle with the affairs of the nation. "I urge the Bar Council to register as a political party and contest the government in the general election, if they are not happy and do not want this system," he told reporters after opening the Disaster Awareness Day seminar here Monday.

On Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan's criticism of the arrests of nine people, including four lawyers, participating in the `People's Freedom Walk' yesterday, he said the responsibility of interpreting the law lay solely with the court. The four lawyers were detained for illegal assembly after ignoring police orders to disperse while participating in the "People's Freedom Walk" which had been called off by the Bar Council.

Meanwhile, Nazri expressed appreciation for the stand taken by the Indian government in not giving support to the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf). On Hindraf's claim that Umno was their enemy and not the Malays, he said: "I do not think the Malays will be fooled by that statement. "We know Hindraf does not represent the Indian society in Malaysia. They are not even registered as a political party but are cowards trying to take advantage of the Indian society," he said. More than 300 people attended the two-day seminar organised by the National Security Council of the Prime Minister's Department.

= == = =and from Malaysian Bar
Human Rights Committee upset with the charges against their Chair and Deputy Chair
Monday, 10 December 2007, 11:29pm; by Andrew Khoo & Zarizana Abdul Aziz

The Human Rights Committee of the Malaysian Bar acknowledges InternationalHuman Rights Day today, 10 December 2007. While we acknowledge this day, this year we unfortunately do not celebrateit. In the past 28 hours, we have seen our chairperson, Edmund Bon, and ourco-deputy chairperson, Amer Hamzah, both arrested arising from events held to commemorate International Human Rights Day. Edmund was arrested allegedly for obstructing officials from Kuala Lumpur City Hall from removing banners and placards placed on the front of the Bar Council's building. This was the venue of the "Festival of Rights" held on Sunday 9 December 2007, organised by the Human Rights Committee. Edmund was merely doing his duty to protect the independence of the Malaysian Bar from interference and intrusion by the local authorities, and to prevent the Festival of Rights from any untoward disruption. His arrest was wholly unnecessary.

Amer was arrested for taking part in a public procession that began from the Sogo departmental store and which was to end at the Bar Council's building. The public procession, although held without a police permit, was carried out in an absolutely peaceful and non-violent manner. There was never any threat to public safety or security at any time. It had as its simple aim a public reaffirmation of the constitutional right of assembly of all Malaysians as provided under the Federal Constitution. The police were fully aware of the public procession at all material times, both before and during the event. In fact, there were more police and press on the street that morning than participants in the public procession.

The arrest of Amer, and certain other participants, was therefore totally unwarranted. The Human Rights Committee of the Malaysian Bar regrets that the Malaysian government has seen fit to allow such action to be taken on an occasion when peoples all around the world, and here in Malaysia, were meant to celebrate the passing in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly, of which Malaysia is a member. Such actions were totally inconsistent with Malaysia's place on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Both events were organised by different members of civil society in order to draw attention to, and promote, a deeper understanding and appreciation of the meaning and significance of human rights and its importance to everyone, everyday. By its nature, human rights is not something that is to be supported merely when it is convenient or calculatingly advantageous to the authorities to do so, or when events and processions are held in favour of causes that are common with the agenda of the powers that be.
We call for all the charges against our chairperson, Edmund Bon, and our co-deputy chairperson, Amer Hamzah, and also against all those arrested yesterday in connection with the peaceful public procession, to be dismissed. Andrew Khoo & Zarizana Abdul Aziz; Co-Deputy Chairpersons
Human Rights Committee; Malaysian Bar

Edmund Bon and 4 other lawyers released on bail

Homo humus, Fama fumus, Finis cinis; Contributed by Stephen Tan Ban Cheng; Monday, 10 December 2007, 11:55pm "Homo humus, Fama fumus, Finis cinis," so declared a man of the cloth when stating in Latin that "Man is dust, Fame is smoke and Ashes in the end." I
find this six-worded Latin statement very thought-provoking as I ponder what is to be. The brevity of the statement indeed accentuates its depth, especially when one directs one's thought on the Dec 9 arrests of Edmund Bon, the chairman of the Human Rights Committee as well as the National Young Lawyers' Committee, and the four lawyers who walked in a celebration of the United Nations-sponsored Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of
Dec. 10,1948. What brought about these two instances of arrests by the Royal Malaysian Police?

In Edmund Bon's case, he was the elected Bar Council official in charge of the Bar Council's third year of observing Human Rights Day, although it was admittedly subdued. According to reports, when the Dewan Bandaraya KualaLumpur or City Council of Kuala Lumpur's officers moved into the Bar Council premises during the celebrations to tear down celebratory buntings, Edmund tried to tell them to stop, even inviting them for nasi lemak. These officers responded by getting the police to arrest him. In the case of the four lawyers - the Bar Council's Human Rights Committee deputy chairman Amer Hamzah Arshad, Parti Keadilan vice chairman K. Sivarasa and supreme council member Latheefa Beebi Koya as well as lawyer-activist N. Surendran - they had, together with four others, including non-practising lawyer Eric Paulsen, taken part in a celebratory walk to mark Human Rights Day. It is clear that despite the political affiliation of Sivarasa and Latheefa, they were doing this 400-yard walk from the front of the Sogo Department Store in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to the Bar Council building in Jalan Raja in the national capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, in their individual capacity.

According to reports, they had finished half of their walk with about 200others when the police moved in after telling the "illegal" but peaceful assembly to disperse. So, all of them found themselves in Session Court No 1, Kuala Lumpur, on the Monday morning of Dec 10, 2007, to answer charges before Judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah. None other than our nation's Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail led the three-person Prosecution team comprising Datuk Yusof and Raja Rozila.

Edmund, represented by Srikant Pillay, Richard Wee, Saha Deva, Bernard Francis and Brenda Silva, pled not guilty to a charge for obstructing DBKL officers in the execution of their duties under section 186 of the Penal Code. The section reads: "Whoever voluntarily obstructs any public servant in the discharge of his public functions shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to RM10,000, or with both." Edmund also said that during his arrest, he had been sustained injuries after being manhandled by the police.

Amer, Sivarasa, Surendran and Koya, represented by P. Valen, Ragunath Kesavan and Tommy Thomas respectively, pled not guilty to the charges under sections 27(5)(a) and s 27(4) of the Police Act for "unlawful assembly," charges punishable under section 27(8) and sections 143 and 154 of the Penal Code. The charges attract a fine of not less than RM2,000 and not more than RM10,000 and a jail term not exceeding one year. The first hurdle before the counsel for the offenders was the opposition to bail by Tan Sri Gani. Arguments from opposing sides went fast and furious, but it resulted in bail being granted, only the question of quantum. Again, arguments from opposing sides went fast and furious, but finally Judge Komathy Suppiah fixed bail at RM1,000 for Edmund Bon and RM2,000 each for the others.

To be sure, there was a touch of humour in the whole affair. The public gallery broke into laughter as the Judge earlier asked: "Isn't Edmund a habitual latecomer to Court?" Tan Sri Gani ended his day in jest as well when, in an apparent reference to the judicial remark, he expressed his wish that his friend, Edmund Bon, might come in Court in time in future. On the surface, it looks like all's well that ends well, except that the Court has fixed the hearing for Jan. 28 to 31 next year. As I take all this in, I recall the six-worded Latin sentence: "Homo humus, Fama fumus, Finis cinis."
What does it mean for all of us? What does the statement that "Man is dusty,

Fame is smoke and Ashes in the end" mean for all of us? It just means that whatever happens, life is just a transient journey across the dimension of time. Unless we are not humans or super-humans, let us treat each other as human beings on a short journey. Let us be kind to each other since after this journey of life is but a mere preparation for something more permanent. Our temporal journey ends where we begin -in dust. Fame, status and wealth are just fleeting. Let us with wisdom remember that whatever our beliefs, the Almighty is always present. Let us take pride in that and not in our temporary status, wealth or fame.

= == = ==Some of the participants in the Aborted Human Rights Walk

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= == = =Watch the Video Clip 3.24 mins Police killed the Festival Human Rights March - 9 Dec 2007

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= == = =Coming next post.. soon

MORE PICS – 29 ARRESTED - Opposition Leaders, Activists & Bersih Protesters; Memo to Wan Azizah Instead of Speaker; Nazri’s Joke? – Arrest to protect MPs;
16 opposition MPs walked out During amendment Vote – 180 2/3 Majority

ABOVE: MPs who walked out during vote and BELOW: Datin Wan Azizah receiving the Memo in Parliament on Dec 11 07
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ABOVE: Tian Chua who crashed through a cordon was surrounded and BELOW: dragged out of Car

More pics in post, Check back


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