Filed under: Malaysia
21 May 2013
Malaysian student activist should be released immediately
Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Malaysian student activist Adam Adli, who has been arrested solely for peacefully expressing his views.
On 18 May 2013, 13 days following Malaysia’s general elections, police arrested and detained student activist Adam Adli, 24, in Kuala Lumpur, for remarks he allegedly had made during a post-election public meeting on 13 May.
Adam Adli, along with other democracy activists reportedly called for a street demonstration to protest alleged electoral fraud during the 5 May elections, the most closely-fought elections since Malaysia’s independence.
Adam Adli is currently detained in a police detention facility, undergoing interrogation for allegedly violating section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and section 124(B) of the Penal Code.
Credible sources indicate that the student activist was subjected to interrogation from 10 am until 6 pm on 19 and 20 May, with the interrogators repeatedly asking the same questions. Adam Adli has refused to answer the questions in the latter part of the interrogation, telling the police to just watch a video of his speech during the public meeting instead.
The Malaysian government must stop using the Sedition Act and provisions in the Penal Code to stifle people’s right to free expression, and it must release all those who have been arrested merely for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs or dissenting opinions.
Section 4(1) of Malaysia’s Sedition Act provides that it is a criminal offence to make any oral, printed and published statements or acts with “seditious tendency”.
If Adam Adli is found guilty of sedition, he could be imprisoned for up to three years, fined up to RM 5,000 (approximately USD 1,650), or both. Amnesty International has repeatedly raised concerns about the Sedition Act and the way it has been implemented over the years to repress political dissent.
In 2012, Prime Minister Najib announced that he would repeal the Sedition Act.
Section 124(B) of the Penal Code states that “whoever, by any means, directly or indirectly, commits an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years.”
Section 124(B) is overly broad and vague. It imposes a chilling effect on free expression in violation of Malaysia’s constitution and international legal obligations. It gives an unfettered discretion to police officers to arrest and detain a person if in the opinion of the arresting police officer a person is committing an act, which to that police officer is detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian government to repeal section 124(b) of the Penal Code. In addition, it must release Adam Adli from detention immediately and unconditionally. The Malaysian authorities must ensure that peaceful political dissent is protected both in law and practice.
Case in brief:
Cheong Chun Yin arrived in Singapore’s Changi Airport from Burma on 16 June 2008, carrying a black suitcase, thinking that it contained gold bars. He handed the bag over to a woman at the airport.
Chun Yin was later arrested after alighting from a taxi in Arab Street. He was then taken to a flat where the suitcase was found. The contents within the suitcase turned out to be 2.7 kg of heroin, instead of the gold bars he was supposed to be smuggling for his friend who wanted to evade tax.
During his interrogation, Chun Yin gave the investigating officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) the name, physical description and phone numbers of his contact, a man who had gone by the name of Lau De. However, the CNB did not make any effort to investigate.
He was then convicted and sentenced to death under the Mandatory Death Penalty stipulated in the Misuse of Drugs Act by High Court Judge Choo Han Teck on 4 February 2010. In his written judgement, Judge Choo stated “I did not find his [Cheong] testimony convincing and I was of the view that his evidence did not create any reasonable doubt in my mind that he might not have known that he was carrying heroin.”
Judge Choo added, “It was immaterial that the CNB did not make adequate efforts to trace Lau De or check on his cell-phones. The absence of any trace of Lau De was not taken as evidence in favour of or against either accused.” [Judgment]
The burning questions:
Death is not reversible and once hanged, any previously convicted criminals found innocent post-sentence, cannot be brought to life. With this in mind, no leads given by alleged criminals should be left uninvestigated.
In the case of Chun Yin, details of his ‘friend’ were given to the investigating officers. Shouldn’t efforts be made to track down Lau De, who might be part of a larger syndicate?
Since such an important lead was not being followed up, can we consider the investigations thorough enough for a charge that carries the death sentence?
Criminal Motion to be heard
Come October 15, 10 am, lawyer M Ravi’s application for Chun Yin’s case to be re-opened will be heard at Singapore’s Court of Appeal.
All leads must not be taken lightly for a sentence so heavy and irreversible. Chun Yin deserves a re-trial and we at the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) are hoping for the best.
Good luck Ravi and Chun Yin!
Filed under: From the blogs, Malaysia, News Articles, Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign, Videos
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