PETALING JAYA: Concerned groups continue to question Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
The allegations of an offence under Section 124C levelled against her “appear to be baseless and her detention under Sosma cannot be justified,” said Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru.
He said Sosma has been represented by the Government as a law to deal with terrorism, not to restrict or prohibit any form of peaceful and legitimate democratic activity.
Referring to reports on Maria’s solitary confinement at an unknown location, Thiru said that it was “oppressive, inhumane and degrading conditions of detention”.
The Malaysian Bar demands her release “immediately and unconditionally”, he said.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie asked if Sosma was “a suitable charge”.
“What is the reason for her arrest under Sosma? The police should justify this to the public,” she said.
She added that the police “must have a solid reason” for arresting Maria under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Heng said she hoped Maria would be released soon if she had not committed any offence.
G25, a group comprising eminent former senior Malay civil servants and intellectuals, called for her immediate release, describing her detention under Sosma as blatant abuse of the law.
“The Government action is not merely high handed but a travesty of justice of the highest order,” said the group in a statement yesterday.
It also called for the return of Bersih 2.0’s files, documents, laptops and other devices which had been seized by police.
G25 said Sosma was legislated to deal with terrorism and security offences to maintain order and public security, not to subdue political freedom and parliamentary democracy.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at a press conference yesterday, said Maria was not capable of terror acts and should not be detained under Sosma.
The former prime minister said the Government had previously pledged not to use the law to detain individuals for political differences, and so Maria’s detention under Sosma was unlawful.
The chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) also condemned the authorities for putting Maria in solitary confinement, which he said was “a form of torture”.
At Parliament yesterday, about 20 Opposition MPs marched from there to Bukit Aman to call for an end to alleged police harrassment of lawmakers.
They also demanded Maria’s release.
Led by Datuk Johari Abdul (PKR - Sungai Petani), they started their march at 9.45am to hand over a memorandum to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
The memorandum, signed by 54 MPs, called for justice for Opposition lawmakers who had been arrested before and after the Bersih 5 rally.
It also protested the treatment of three former cabinet ministers, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Pribumi - Pagoh), Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (PWS - Semporna) and Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (BN - Tambun).
They were being investigated for allegedly leaking government secrets and breaching their government oath of secrecy during recent debates in Parliament.
Muhyiddin and Shafie were among those in the march and they were joined by several Pakatan Harapan MPs, including Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR - Permatang Pauh), Lim Kit Siang (DAP - Gelang Patah) and Tian Chua (PKR - Batu).