Walk for Judicial Independence participants were not falsely imprisoned by human chain, says police

KUALA LUMPUR: The human barricade formed by the police during the Walk for Judicial Independence in June last year was to restrict the participants from marching to the Parliament and not to falsely imprison them, says the police.

Even so, the police said it had allowed up to 30 people to continue with the march after several rounds of negotiations.

This was the authorities' contention in a statement of defence they filed on Dec 22, last year, against the Malaysian Bar's lawsuit.

The defendants claimed that the barricade was not to restrict their movement to other places, with exception to the august house.

"The plaintiffs were never prevented from leaving the assembly area.

"They were not besieged and they were free to enter and leave the Padang Merbok parking area.

"They were only restricted from marching to the Parliament," the statement said.

The defendants claimed that the Bar's allegation of "false imprisonment" was a "misstatement under the law".

The defendants further claimed that the police had succeeded in stopping the march after it was told that no procession was allowed.

The plaintiffs, however, had negotiated with the defendants to carry on with their programme and the defendants compromised by allowing 10 of the participants to continue the march.

"However, the plaintiffs continued to push the police to allow a procession for all the participants.

"The police subsequently allowed for 20 people and later, for 30 people, after another round of negotiations," the statement said.

The defendants also stated that no arrests were carried out by the police during the assembly and all its actions were lawful.

They also contended that they received feedback from nearby SK Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah, Aswara and Bank Negara, which objected to the assembly, prior to the event taking place.

On Oct 20, 2022, the Malaysian Bar and its office bearers sued the police and the government for alleged wrongful detention when they were barred from proceeding with their "Walk For Judicial Independence" to Parliament on June 17, 2022.

The walk was organised as a peaceful protest against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) investigations into Court of Appeal judge Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

The four office bearers were Bar president Karen Cheah, vice-president Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab, secretary Anand Raj R. Balasupramaniam and treasurer Murshidah Mustafa.

They named Noor Dellhan Yahaya (in his capacity as the officer in charge of the Dang Wangi police district), Nuzulan Mohd Din (in his capacity as the head of criminal investigation at the Dang Wangi district headquarters), the police, the Inspector-General of Police, the Home Minister and the government of Malaysia as the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants respectively.

According to the statement of claim, the plaintiffs said about 500 members of the Malaysian Bar assembled peacefully at Padang Merbok for the march between 7.45am and 10am on June 17, where they planned to march to Parliament to submit a memorandum to the then deputy minister (Parliament and Law) in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

The plaintiffs said the police had placed plastic barriers around Padang Merbok to prevent the participants from entering or passing through.

The plaintiffs claimed that the participants were falsely restrained and imprisoned between 10.35am and 11.15am by the defendants, when they were forcibly confined at the Padang Merbok car park within the barricades constructed by police under the direction of the first defendant.

As a result, the plaintiffs claimed to have suffered loss of freedom for 40 minutes, and their constitutional rights under Articles 5, 8, 9 and 10 of the Federal Constitution were violated.

They further claimed that the defendants breached their statutory duties under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and committed misfeasance in public office.

The plaintiffs are claiming special damages of RM19,449, and unspecified general, aggravated and exemplary damages as well as other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

Case management has been fixed for Thursday (Jan 12).

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 Malaysian Bar , Protest , Police , High Court , Lawsuit


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