In response to lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad being manhadled and briefly arrested by police outside court last week, come Wednesday 31st March at 12pm, lawyers will deliver a Memorandum of Protest to the IGP at Bukit Aman. All are welcome to join in this peaceful protest against police brutality and preventive detention laws.
Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad manhandled and briefly arrested by police outside court
1. On 25th March 2010 Amer Hamzah had obtained his client Khaeryll Benjamin Ibrahim@ Benjy’s release on bail on a charge of drug possesssion at the Jalan Duta courts.
2. Near the bail processing counter, about 10 policemen suddenly converged on Amer and his client and ordered the client to go with them. Present were the client’s mother Azean Irdawaty, pupil Sharon Khoo and some family members.
3. The policemen were in plainclothes, and Amer demanded their identity and police card. A police inspector claimed that it was an arrest under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act, i.e: detention without trial.
4. At this point, Amer was assaulted and briefly arrested. Two policemen grabbed Amer and held him back with force. Amer protested his treatment, and repeatedly asked the police not to touch him. Eventually Amer was released as his client was bundled away.
The unlawful, oppressive and arbitrary actions of the police on 25th March are a gross interference with a lawyer carrying out his duty to his client. Amer was discharging his duties in the best traditions of the Malaysian Bar, when he sought explanation from the police as to why his client was being arrested. Despite being surrounded by police, he continued to speak out for his client,as he was bound to do.
The aggressive and unlawful response of the police is a reflection of the general arrogance and lack of respect for the rule of law widely displayed by the police force. The matter is aggravated by the fact that Amer’s client was being arrested under an oppressive and unconstitutional preventive detention law.
The Malaysian Bar has forcefully and repeatedly called for the repeal of all preventive detention laws. The re-arrest of Benjy immediately after his release by the court is also a flagrant contempt of judicial authority. The Inspector General of Police must:
a) take stern action against the policemen who assaulted Amer Hamzah Arshad and the officer who was in charge of the operation;
b) undertake not to further interfere with lawyers carrying out their duties;
c) immediately stop the unjust practice of re-arresting under preventive detention laws persons released by court;
d) issue a public apology to all concerned;
e) undertake to respect the right of the Malaysian public for unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times.
MAKING THESE DEMANDS WILL BE DELIVERED AS FOLLOWS:
All lawyers and concerned citizens are welcome to join!
Latheefa Koya 012-3842972
Dear fellow members of the Bar,
This mistreatment of Amer is a continuation of a long standing series of events and acts by the police that have failed to appreciate the role of the legal profession. The arrests of 5 legal aiders last year, the persistent denial of the right to counsel – section 28A of the CPC and Article 5 of the FC etc. The Bar had came out with strong resolutions on the arrest of the 5 lawyers, but unfortunately it remained a resolution without any outcome.
We must walk again. Today it might be Comrade Amer, we don’t know whose turn it will be next… It may be you.
It will be a hot day; please bring your sunglasses, hats, and umbrellas and of course you courage!