Bar Council demands resignations of Home Minister, IGP
Friday, 15 May 2009
(Suara Keadilan) - The Malaysian Bar Council has demanded that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hasan resign immediately to take responsibility for arresting five lawyers who were trying to offer legal aid to a group of people detained for participating in a candlelight vigil.
At an extraordinary general meeting, some 1,400 lawyers also voted to file a civil suit against the government, the IGP and the Brickfield police chief for the high-handed arrests.
They also plan to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib Razak, Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and the Human Rights Commission to complain of the abuse of power by the police.
Last week, lawyers Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Syuhaini Safwan, Puspawati Rosman, Ravinder Singh and Murnie Hidayah Anuar from the KL Legal Aid Centre were arrested for alleged illegal assembly at the Brickfield police station.
They had gone there to offer legal assistance to a group of pro-democracy activists, who were holding a candlelight vigil to protest the arrest of their colleague Wong Chin Huat. The five lawyers were released a day later on May 8.
“By their action, the police personnel in question have demonstrated utter disrespect and blatant disregard for the criminal justice system that they are duty-bound to uphold and protect,” Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan had said in a statement out last week.
“They have violated the specific provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code guaranteeing access to lawyers. Although there is an exception to this provision, it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be turned into a right to arrest lawyers who are waiting to render legal representation to their clients.
“The police action makes an absolute mockery of the constitutional right to legal representation and is a travesty of justice.“
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