Thai activists demand Malaysia release protesters against Internal Security Act

A group of Thai activists protested at the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok, demanding the Malaysian government release demonstrators who were arrested during a protest against the Internal Security Act (ISA), and abolish the law which gives sweeping powers to the authorities.

On Aug 13, about 10 members of the Social Move Assembly, affiliated with the red shirts and the Turn Left group, urged the Malaysian Government to free over 60 individuals who had been detained since Aug 1 when they held an anti-ISA rally in Kuala Lumpur during which the police ‘shot tear gas and sprayed chemical-laced water cannons towards the strong crowd to force them to disperse’.

According to the group’s statement, ‘the demonstrators call to the government to abolish the ISA which allows the indefinite imprisonment of people without trial and is against democratic movements, the workers' movement, civil society and student movements to enable the government to cling to power’.  

Furthermore, at least 17 people are being held under the law, and a 16-year-old child has been put in jail for 8 years, the group said.

They said that despite numerous smaller protests held by human rights activists over the years, Prime Minister Najib Rasak insists on keeping the law.

438 protesters, including ethnic Indian minors, were arrested by police, and all have been released except the 63 people, which include members of the same families, the group said. They could be charged with illegal assembly, which is punishable by a year in prison and a fine.  

The activists condemned the Malaysian government’s ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression and use of violence against the protesters, and demanded the 63 individuals be immediately and unconditionally released and the ISA be abolished.

They submitted their letter to the Malaysian government through Ambassador Dato' Husni Zai bin Yaacob. Embassy official Raui Chanderan came out to receive the letter.

Source: 
<p>http://www.prachatai.com/journal/2009/08/25441</p>

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