NEWS

Court orders early release of 'Occupy Parliament' activists

Published
Modified 27 Aug 2015, 5:32 pm

All 17 students and activists who were arrested for protesting outside Parliament Tuesday night were freed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

For 16 of them, the court had reduced their remand period from three days to two after a revision, and the youths are expected to be released later today.

They were arrested under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

The 17th activist, Heng Kiah Chun, was denied early revision as he was arrested under Section 353 of the Penal Code.

Section 353 of the Penal Code relates to the use of criminal force in obstructing public officials and does not allow for a revision.

Heng was finally released just after midnight, as announced on the Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic movement (Dema) Facebook page.

'No evidence of violence'

Before the hearing started, the 16 students and activists walked into the courtroom in their orange prison garb and in handcuffs.

They appeared to be in good spirit, smiling and waving at their family and friends who were seated.

The students and activists were represented by a team of five lawyers, with Judge Siti Mariah Ahmad presiding.

Ravin Singh, who led the defence team, said the students did not violate Penal Code section 124B, which covers 'activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy'.

He also argued the reasons given by the police to make the students take urine, alcohol, and DNA tests, have not been established.

Ravin pointed out that the police should have provided evidence to show ‘violent’ conduct or any action which violates the constitution.

He also emphasised that the real purpose of extended detention is to "complete the investigation, not start the investigation".

The second defence counsel Dinesh Muthal said the police could not obtain any evidence which showed violent and/or unconstitutional actions of the students when they were outside the Parliament for 31 hours.

He said the students and activists had in their posession some food, books, and cardboards.

He also pointed out that the students cooperated with the police and did not camp within the range of 50 metres from the entrance to the Parliament.

Public prosecutor Mohd Nordin Ismail said the police wanted to conduct DNA testing to ensure that if they commit crime again, it can be detected by the police.

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