KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Held for 11 days under a controversial security law, Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah was released at about 4.30pm on the 11th day today.
Lawyer Latheefa Koya confirmed the news to Malay Mail Online when contacted.
“Maria was brought out by Datuk Ambiga from Bukit Aman,” she said, referring to former Bersih 2.0 chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
“At about 3.30pm, police called Ambiga to go and see Maria. We thought it was just a normal procedure to record statements but she was later released,” Latheefa added.
Police detained the 60-year-old mother of three on November 18 under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, and invoked the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, allowing them to hold her without trial for up to 28 days.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar deferred replying Malay Mail Online’s questions on Maria’s surprise release, a day before her habeas corpus hearing challenging her detention.
He said questions could be asked at his next press conference.
And Maria is home in the arms of her family! pic.twitter.com/78ZPNDab93— Ambiga Sreenevasan (@Ambiga_S) November 28, 2016
Maria is expected to turn up at Dataran Merdeka later tonight, according to Bersih 2.0 secretary Mandeep Singh.
Both local and international human rights groups have condemned Maria’s arrest and ongoing detention, while Bersih supporters have gathered every night at the landmark square since last week calling for her release.
The police also raided the office of a civil society called EMPOWER, of which Maria is a member, earlier this afternoon.
The police said they were investigating EMPOWER under the same Penal Code provision that was used against Maria.
And she is out!!!! Free!!! pic.twitter.com/b45VYBZJXR— Ambiga Sreenevasan (@Ambiga_S) November 28, 2016