Son says Bersih chief too frail to withstand 'sleep deprivation'

Maria Chin Abdullah's son Azumin Mohamad Yunus (centre) outside the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters after making the report. — Picture by Siow Feng Saw
Maria Chin Abdullah's son Azumin Mohamad Yunus (centre) outside the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters after making the report. — Picture by Siow Feng Saw

PETALING JAYA, Nov 21 — Azumin Mohamad Yunus today demanded that authorities release his mother, Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, from the solitary confinement that he said was causing harmful sleep deprivation.

Explaining that his mother suffered ailments such as hypertension, osteoarthritis and a high cholesterol level, Azumin said the alleged conditions of her detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, would endanger her health.

“When I met my mother at the Dang Wangi police headquarters on Sunday, she told us that she was living in a small cell with no proper bed, no blanket, windows and the lights were left on all the time.

“Although she was in high spirit, these have cause sleep deprivation and we fear for her health as she was even forced to skipped a medical check-up that day because of her detention,” Maria's eldest son told reporters outside the PJ district police headquarters here.

He earlier lodged a police report on the matter, accompanied by PKR MP N Surendran and Lawyers For Liberty’s Eric Paulsen.

Paulsen, who is also representing Maria, said he will lodge a report with the United Nations on Putrajaya's decision to detain her using a law designed to combat terrorism.

He also demanded that the police explain why they chose to use the Sosma to hold her without trial.

“She's no terrorist,” he said.

Under Sosma, the police may detain Maria for 28 days and withhold legal representation for two days, which Paulsen yesterday said the police have opted to do.

Maria was detained on Friday under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

Civil liberties lawyers have criticised the decision to apply the Sosma against Maria, noting that the law expressly states that it may not be used against any individual purely for their political beliefs.

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