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Jan 28, 2008

35 charged with illegal assembly


Thirty-five people were today charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with taking part in an illegal assembly on Saturday. Among them, Parti Sosialis Malaysia pro-tem secretary-general S Arutchelvan also faces a charge of violating a court order which barred him and four others from being within a one-kilometre radius of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and the nearby Masjid Assyakirin.

The order was obtained by Dang Wangi police chief ACP Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman from the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court to stop the Coalition Against Inflation (Protes) from gathering at KLCC.

Apart from Arutchelvan, the other 34 persons were accused of being supporters of Protes. All 35 claimed trial and have been released on RM1,000 bail.

Session’s Court judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat also imposed an additional bail condition - which had earlier been proposed by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin - that the defendants must not participate in any ‘illegal assembly’.

This was strongly objected by counsels Amer Hamzah Arshad, Edmun Bon and Jonson Chong, who challenged the relevance of such a condition and argued that it violated such principles of law as the presumption of innocence.

However, Mohamad Sekeri said the defendants may appeal to the Kuala Lumpur High Court if they were not satisfied with his decision. Hearing has been set from June 16-18.

Malaysiakini journalist charged

In the same court, Malaysiakini journalist Syed Jaymal Zahiid was charged with obstructing Chief Inspector Effendi Abdul Rahman from performing his duty when he questioned the police officer on the arrests of the protesters.

Syed Jaymal claimed trial and has been released on RM1,000 bail. His case will be jointly heard with the rest.

All 36 were remanded at the Pudu jail in Jalan Hang Tuah after their arrest at various points near Jalan Ampang on Saturday.

Twelve people were released without any conditions on the night following their arrest.

Last night, 10 others who had been arrested - including PKR information chief Tian Chua and PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli - were released after the police’ remand applications against them were denied by the magistrate.

Both Chua and Hatta had been named along with Arutchelvan in the magistrate court’s restraining order.

Their release was said to have been due to contradictions and other serious flaws in the investigating officers’ reports on their arrests.

Among them, Chua was found to have been picked up despite being outside the zone from which the five were banned.


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