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Friday, July 29, 2011

Jeyakumar and 5 other PSM leaders freed: Police must apologize

Sulaiman Kamal | 9:28 PM | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The EO-6 have finally been released after 28 days of detention following strenuous efforts by Parti Sosialis Malaysia members, NGOs and friends including Pakatan Rakyat supporters to pressure the police and Home Ministry to free them.
No reasons were given and the Star reported the Inspector General of Police as saying it is up to the Attorney-General to decide on the next course of action.
"Yes, it is confirmed. We need to get rid of all the oppressive laws, EO, ISA, OSA and PPPA because this case has highlighted how they can be abused. But before that, the BN government and the police must apologise to the EO-6 and their families," PKR legal affairs director Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.

"This shows that the police have been lying to the people about Dr Jeyakumar and PSM members being communists, the masterminds behind Bersih and waging war against the King. Where is the proof?" PAS MP for Bukit Gantang Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle.
Abuse of power
The six include PSM MP for Sungai Siput Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, who began a hunger strike on Friday, after failing to get any response from the authorities. The other 5 PSM members are M Sarasvathy, Choo Chon Kai, M Sukumaran, R Saratbabu and A Letchumanan.
The six are also known as the EO-6 because they were remanded by the police under the Emergency Ordinance, which allows for detention without trial for indefinite periods of time. Under the EO, the police must also review the remand within 30 days and this period ends on Sunday. However, the remand order can also be cancelled at any time by the Home Minister.
The EO-6 were arrested on June 26 while on the way to Penang and accused of rekindling 'communism' and waging war against the King. The police later backed down on these charges and the 6 are being detained for being involved in Bersih-related activities. However, the July 9 Bersih rally for free and fair elections have long passed and the hundreds arrested for supporting it have been released.
Hunger strike
PSM members said the six were released at 5.30pm  and will attend a 'victory celebration' at 7.30pm at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, where they are bound to receive a standing ovation.
Police had earlier confirmed that Jeyakumar had begun his hunger strike, which he has vowed to continue until all six are either released or brought to court to face charges.
In the meantime, the Malaysian Medical Association had warned the police not to force-feed Jeyakumar, who is a lung specialist, as it was “unethical and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.
“The MMA calls upon the authorities to respect international human rights laws and not to resort to force feeding as a means of ending Jeyakumar's protest,” MMA president Dr Mary Suma Cardosa had said in a statement.
Intimidation and vengeance
According to pundits and PSM colleagues, there were no grounds for the police to continue detaining the six unless as an act of intimidation and vengeance.
"After waiting for hours in anxiety, we were finally notified by DSP Muhammad Razali that Dr Jeyakumar has declined lunch and dinner and his condition is said to be OK as of 9.35pm on 28 July 20011 and that he is being monitored," said PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan in a statement issued on Friday.
Arutchelvan had also said PSM and other groups would intensify their campaign to get the EO-6 released and this included calling for more hunger strikes.
"We believe that more Malaysians will be joining Dr Jeyakumar in this hunger strike to call for the release.  We will also make it clear that the home minister is entitled to revoke this order and any time.  We therefore call upon Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein to use his powers to immediately release the six without conditions," said Arutchelvan.
Fortunately, Jeya and colleagues have been freed. However, given Malaysia's uncertain political climate under the Najib administration, they can be re-arrested and detained again under the EO depending on the whim and fancy of the authorities as has already been proven.

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