KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Lawyer Eric Paulsen confirmed today that Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah will be detained for 28 more days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, or Sosma, in addition to the initial 24 hours since Friday afternoon.
Despite that, Paulsen said Maria — who had been denied contact with her lawyers and family until today — was in good cheer.
“So far she’s only been there for a couple of days, so she is still in high spirits,” Paulsen told Malay Mail Online, referring to Maria’s stay at the undisclosed detention centre.
“She was happy that Bersih was a success, and told everyone to carry on with the reform agenda. She vows to challenge her detention.”
Besides Paulsen, lawyers Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and R. Sivarasa were also present during the meeting at the Dang Wangi police station around 1pm today.
Under Sosma, the police may detain Maria for 28 days and withhold legal representation for two days.
Maria was detained on Friday under Section 124C of the Penal Code that prohibits the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
On Twitter, Bersih 2.0 today claimed Maria was held in solitary confinement within a 15 feet by 8 feet windowless cell where two light bulbs are kept on for 24 hours a day, and denied a bed.
“She described it as ISA-style detention,” it added, referring to the repealed Internal Security Act 1960 that had allowed preventive detention for up to 60 days.
Earlier today in a press conference, the group expressed its concern that Maria’s lawyer had not been able to reach her since she was detained under Sosma.
Ambiga was previously reported saying that the team will go through all means to secure Maria’s release, including filing for habeas corpus.
The group also announced that deputy chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari has been appointed acting chairman in Maria’s absence.