Updated at 2.40pm
KUALA LUMPUR, 22 May 2009: The 20 people, including five lawyers, who were released on police bail recently, are not expected to face charges after the police announced the bail ended today.
Brickfields district police chief OCPD Wan Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said today the police were not extending the bail.
On 7 May, police arrested 15 people for illegal assembly a candlelight vigil in front of the Brickfields police station. The vigil was held in support of political scientist and activist Wong Chin Huat, who was arrested from 5 to 8 May for alleged sedition.
Lawyers from the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre — Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Murnie Hidayah Anuar, Puspawati Rosman, Ravinder Singh Dhalilwal and Syuhaini Safwan — were arrested after they went to the police station to meet those who were detained for holding the vigil.
The lawyers were arrested after they had asked to meet the detainees and were denied access to them by the police.
The 20 were released on police bail the next day and were asked to report to the police station at 10am today.
Nineteen of them turned up at the police station today, except lawyer Puspawati, who had to attend a court case in Shah Alam. They were represented by lawyers Latheefa Koya, N Surendran and Ravi Nekoo.
Only the lawyers were allowed into the police station while the other 15 people were denied entry.
More than 30 other lawyers, including Bar Council vice-chairperson Lim Chee Wee, Wong and members of the public, also turned at the police station to show support for the 20. Some of them were in black attire.
At around 10.20am, the police used a loud hailer and ordered the crowd, including the 15 who were denied entry, to disperse immediately.
Later, Wan Bari told reporters he was surprised that the 20 people showed up today. He said the police had informed senior lawyer M Puravelan at 5.15pm yesterday that the 20 were not required to be present at the police station today. He said Puravelan was present when the detained were released on police bail on 8 May.
“[This] should not have happened… We have told Puravelan they don’t need to come because we don’t require their assistance in investigation or for any other purpose anymore… I don’t know why they’re here today,” Wan Bari said at a brief media conference. He also said he did not want to take any questions from the reporters.
Latheefa told The Nut Graph later she was not aware of the police’s decision yesterday. “How are we supposed to know? Why didn’t the police contact our clients and us (the lawyers representing the 20 people) directly? They can’t simply call any lawyer from the Bar Council,” she said.
One of the 20 people, Chua Yee Ling, confirmed with The Nut Graph that she did not receive any call from the police. “The others were also not aware of it. That’s why all of us turned up at the police station today,” she said.
The Nut Graph tried to contact Puravalen and was informed by his personal assistant that he was in court today.
The Bar Council held an extraordinary general meeting on 15 May in response to the incident and plans to sue the government for the unlawful detention of the five lawyers and for denying them access to detainees.
No charge … why? No apology … why? Either charge them, or apologise; you can’t have it both ways.
The police force has been turned into the laughing stock of country… bravo to the BAR