16 #OccupyParliament protesters freed after judge shortens remand period

The 16 were picked up from outside Parliament two days ago during their sit-in to pressure Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign from office. — Picture courtesy of Fahmi Zainol
The 16 were picked up from outside Parliament two days ago during their sit-in to pressure Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign from office. — Picture courtesy of Fahmi Zainol

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — A High Court here erupted in cheers when judge Datuk Mariah Ahmad allowed the challenge against the remand orders on 16 of the 17 #OccupyParliament participants, shortening the term from three days to just two.

The decision effectively saw the 16, who were picked up outside the Parliament building Tuesday night, freed. They will be released from the Jinjang central lock-up later tonight.

The remaining participant, however, will have to stay under lock and key for the remainder of the three-day remand, having been nabbed under Section 353 of the Penal Code for obstructing a police officer from performing his duties. The others were held for allegedly violating Section 124(B) of the Penal Code on the disruption of parliamentary processes, as well the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012.

Ignoring the shouts of excitement that filled her courtroom after delivering her decision, Mariah reminded the protesters that even when fighting to have their voices and demands heard, the rule of law must always be observed.

“So, all of you are the youngsters? You must remember that in upholding the truth, you must follow the law.

No one will be angry if you follow the right way. We have to first be right ourselves, or else, how to uphold the truth? You must remember,” she told the elated youths.

Her advice was then met with cries of “thank yous” and claps from the packed courtroom.

The 16 were picked up from outside Parliament two days ago during their sit-in to pressure Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign from office. They were slapped with a three-day remand order yesterday, to facilitate investigations under Section 124(B) of the Penal Code, as well as a probe for an alleged breach of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012.

In their submission challenging the remand period, the group’s counsels Ravin Singh and Dinesh Muthal argued that the reasons cited by the police for the three-day remand was a sheer abuse of power.

Ravin told the court that the police had requested for three days to record statements from the detainees under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) alongside several others, which included recording the participants’ DNAs.

“Their reasoning was that they wanted to record statements under Section 112, conduct urine test, alcohol test and recording DNA.

“Now this clearly shows power abuse by the police as this case does not even involve bodily fluids like blood,” he said

Ravin said that the police did not even conduct the urine test, despite having the participants locked up for two days.

In his submission later, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Mohd Nordin Ismail argued that the DNAs and biological proof were necessary as it would come in handy to identify the participants “should they commit any crime later”.

“Why the urine test, DNAs and alcohol test is because the police have a database to record these so they can be identified should they commit crime later,” he said.

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