Maria: End of year-old case over Bersih shows Sosma detention was baseless

Maria said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Maria said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Bersih 2.0's Maria Chin Abdullah claimed the police's decision to close a year-old case against the polls reform group showed that her detention without trial was baseless.

Maria, who chairs Bersih 2.0, said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today.

“Bukit Aman police has informed me that all investigations towards Bersih 2.0 and me have been closed.

“More interestingly, I was made to understand by the police that the return of the seized items are on the orders of the Attorney-General's Chambers.

“Therefore it is proven that my detention under Sosma was without basis at all, and was merely a move to intimidate me, my family and Malaysians who love peace, democracy and justice,” she said in a statement today, referring to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.

Maria recounted that the police had last November 18 raided Bersih 2.0’s office and seized 10 laptops, two smartphones and documents, when 14 people were also detained under a variety of laws while she was held for days under Sosma.

Claiming vindication today, she also stressed that Bersih 2.0 would not bow to any form of intimidation and will remain committed to its causes, such as pushing for fair and free elections and preserving parliamentary democracy.

“All slander and accusations that have been created against Bersih and the NGOs under it, besides myself, have been proven false, untrue and to be lies,” she said.

“We don't have to be afraid, because we are on the side that is right. Malaysians have to be brave in stating the truth, and opposing fraud that gives advantages to certain quarters,” she said.

Just a day before the Bersih 5 rally last year, police detained Maria under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

Police then invoked the SOSMA that allowed them to hold her without trial for up to 28 days. She was released on November 28, a day before a hearing for her habeas corpus application to challenge her detention.