By prolonging this travesty of justice, the KDN and the Attorney General’s Chambers have breached internationally accepted principles, reports Tan Jo Hann.
The Malaysian government and the KDN are still uncertain whether to charge the three Komas human rights activists Anna Har (Komas board of rirectors), Arul Prakkash (executive director) and Lena Hendry (Komas programme officer).
They were arrested on 3 July 2013 during the screening of the film “No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”. The film screening was raided by KDN, police and immigration department officers. They were questioned for more than three hours on the night of 4 July 2013 and released on police bail to appear at the Magistrates’ Court on 6 August, 9.00am.
On 22 July 2013, Komas director Tan Jo Hann was summoned by the KDN and gave a statement to the Kementerian Dalam Negeri (Home Ministry) Bahagian Kawalan dan Penapisan Filem dan Penguatkuasaan, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
All the Komas members who were arrested were informed by Akilah Bakri (KDN investigating officer) on 30th July 2013 that their bail would be further extended when the bail period ends on 6 August 2013. After consulting Komas’ legal counsel, the three decided not to extend the bail but chose to appear in court on 6 August 2013 at 9.00am to appeal against the arrest.
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On 5 August 2013, Pusat Komas executive director Arul Prakkash received a call from Akilah asking all three not to appear in court on 6 August as no charges had been filed yet and that the KDN would be contacting the three after the Hari Raya holidays.
We find this form of harassment and delaying tactics seems to be a tactic to intimidate or target civil society organisations who are actively promoting and ensuring the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association in Malaysia.
We strongly urge the KDN and the Attorney General Chambers to immediately drop the case against Komas and the three arrested members and cease all investigations into the incident. We feel there is no need to prolong this case without any concrete reasons and proper charges.
In the first place, the raid of the film screening on 3 July was already baseless, and the arrest of the three was obviously totally unnecessary.
To further prolong this travesty of justice only proves than the KDN and the Attorney General’s Chambers have breached internationally accepted principles of free specch, assembly and association, which incidentally is provided under Article 10 of the Malaysian constitution.
Tan Jo Hann is director of Pusat Komas Sdn Bhd