Saturday, January 24, 2009

Charged!

Tony sheds a tear on Haris' big shoulders  as he enters the courtroom
as an accused for the first time... sob! (Pic courtesy of Sinchew
)

Heh, as many of you would have read by now, the Government decided to offer us big "ang pow" before Chinese New Year by charging us for our presence at the candlelight vigil commemorating the first anniversary of the BERSIH rally as well as to oppose the continued use of ISA.

Of course, you've read all about our arrest here and here. Both Weng San and I have yet to charge the police of assault, and yet they've decided to proceed to prosecute us "under instructions from the top".

In the past, one could "almost" understand that action is taken if we march the streets, stop traffic, sit on the roads that actions would be taken. But in this case, we were on MBPJ property with councillors and Selangor state government exco present, lighting candles and singing the national anthem, and yet the police came in to beat up people without arms and charge them in court.  Of course, when the UMNO thugs take the streets, the police will give them security escort instead ;-)

It is of course, a classic case of intimidation. If any of us elected representatives are found guilty, under the law, the judge has no choice but to impose a minimum RM2,000 fine, and we'll all be disqualified from our elected positions. Yes, it's a concern, but I do know of other newly elected reps who have their charges outstanding since 1999 reformasi days... so yes, I'll remain PJU MP for a while more yet ;-)

More importantly, as the Bar Council President, stated in the Malaysian Insider:
Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who had shown up in support of the accused, said the charges were "completely ridiculous" and transgressed against the public's right to participate in a peaceful demonstration.

She added that it was a waste of taxpayers' money to prosecute the 21.
While in Malaysiakini:
Ambiga told reporters that the attorney-general should drop the charges and put in efforts to prosecute real crimes and not people exercising freedom of expression which is protected under the Federal Constitution.

"These people are not dangerous," she said, adding that there are better ways where the government could have utilised the taxpayers' money rather than to charge them.

I can't agree more. With crime rates soaring, I'm sure we must one of the biggest criminal gangs in town, or worse, national security threats which required the Attorney-General's office from Putrajaya to personal send of the "rising star" Deputy Public Prosecutors to handle the charges.

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