International human rights NGO, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), has called on the authorities to stop their investigations against activists engaging in peaceful protests.
The call came after police today probed Ambiga Sreenevasan, Marina Mahathir, and numerous others over peaceful assemblies in Dataran Merdeka and outside the Sogo shopping centre over the weekend.
The protests were held over the political turmoil which saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.
“These investigations have the effect of harassing and intimidating human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists, and look worryingly like a new crackdown on dissent,” said ICJ Asia Pacific director Frederick Rawski.
ICJ senior international legal adviser, Emerlynne Gil, said the laws under which the investigations were being conducted "are inconsistent with international and constitutional human rights law and standards".
“International law protects the right to hold peaceful assemblies, with limited exceptions not applicable here," she said.
“The ICJ has repeatedly called on Malaysia to abolish these laws, which impose unjustifiably burdensome restrictions and disproportionate penalties on the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.”
The ICJ reiterated its call on the government to abolish the Sedition Act and abolish or reform the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
It also called on the Malaysian government to end the use of these laws to harass and investigate persons solely for participation in peaceful protest.