Bersih 2.0: 100 police violence victims to come forward on Saturday

UPDATED @ 02:23:44 PM 16-05-2012
By Clara Chooi
May 16, 2012

A Bersih demonstrator is surrounded by police officers near Dataran Merdeka, in Kuala Lumpur April 28, 2012. — Picture by Jack Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — One hundred alleged victims of police brutality from Bersih 3.0 will come forward this Saturday to tell their stories, Bersih 2.0 announced today, adding that the group may include those in the police wanted list.The polls watchdog told a press conference here that it was inappropriate for the police to launch a dragnet on those in their list for failing to come forward, saying not many were aware they had been named.

"You should not be hunting them down this way. You should issue a letter to them, asking them to come.

"And these over 100 in the list... where is this list? Was it in the media?" Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah said.

She added it was also unlikely that those on the wanted list would dare to surrender themselves for fear of being assaulted while in police custody.

Maria Chin said this in reference to the case of Mohd Safuan Mamat, the 24-year-old who was reportedly charged in court yesterday over his actions during the April 28 rally.

According to Safuan, police officers allegedly hit him with a metal pipe when he was held overnight after surrendering himself for investigations.

Another Bersih 2.0 steering committee member, Hishamuddin Rais, pointed out that unlike the police, Bersih 2.0 had directly contacted some 100 participants who alleged of police brutality, and invited them to explain their sides of the story.
"They may be among those in the wanted list," he said, but added later that this could not be confirmed.

Maria Chin also advised the protesters to ensure their whereabouts are known should the police arrest them in the next few days.

This, she said, was so Bersih 2.0 and its affiliated groups could help offer legal assistance.

She said a special team has already been set up by groups like Suaram, Lawyers for Liberty and the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall to document all those who were allegedly assaulted by the police during the April 28 sit-in in the city.

"We also have a separate team of lawyers working with the Bar Council so when these protesters are arrested or detained, we can offer legal help," she said.

According to Bernama Online, only 26 of the 141 individuals wanted by the police for suspected involvement in the rally chaos had surrendered themselves as of yesterday's 7pm deadline.

Last Wednesday, the police issued a seven-day deadline to the 141 individuals whose photos have been published to turn themselves in to help in Bersih 3.0 investigations.

To date, no police personnel has been rounded up to assist in the probe.