Nat Tan’s lawyer: An act of oppression July 14, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.
Let’s begin with yet another common ‘trick’/tactic of our oh-so-professional police force – perverting the course of justice by not giving vital information to suspects’ lawyers eg. hearing times.
Nat Tan’s lawyers have put their names on record with the police so that they would be informed of the case developments, especially on the time and venue of the remand hearing today.
Close to noon, Sivarasa Rasiah, one of Nat’s legal counsels, received a call from another lawyer, P. Uthayakumar, who happened to be at the Duta magistrate’s court for another remand hearing. Uthaya spotted a handcuffed Nat and realised what the police were trying to do – conduct the hearing without the presence of Nat’s lawyers. Sivarasa and Latheefa Koya rushed there and taruh the cops kau-kau (yeh!).
By the time I got there, the family members, including Li Tsin and Nat’s sister, Cheryl who also blogs, had waited for quite a while. The magistrate had thrown everyone out of the courtroom, including the media. Among those who came were Nik Nazmi, KeADILan Youth Exco Ginie and Lawrence; the Chan brothers, Yus, Ramlan, Tian Chua and William Leong.
We waited for almost 2 hours outside the court room. Finally the lawyers came out and informed us that the police tried to ask for the maximum of 14 days remand (!) and got 4 days instead.
The police said Nat is being investigated for an offence under Section 8 of the Officials Secrets Act (changed from last night’s Section 420 of the Penal Code) , i.e. possession of ‘secret’ documents published on the internet, which alleged that deputy Minister for Internal Security, Johari Bahrum, was involved in the ‘fee-for freedom’ scandal.
This is similar to an earlier investigation, again under Section 8 of the OSA, conducted by Bukit Aman, on the 4 KeADILan leaders who revealed the agreement and the toll-hike rates of Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP). Note:- There were no arrests and no confiscation in that case.
This is what Sivarasa Rasiah, the lead counsel for Nat, said outside the courts after the remand hearing:-
“We are revisiting 1998 – this is a political detention.
“The remand serves no purpose except to put him (Nat) under duress.
“He has given his full cooperation; they have taken documents, CD-Roms and computers from his office, home and car.
“If the remand is for investigation, why continue to detain him when he has given everything? This is a ‘fishing’ expedition. There is clearly another agenda behind this.
“This is purely an act of oppression. I want to go on record that his detention is political motivated.”
Sivarasa also said that the documents and CD-Roms seized from Nat’s home, office and car, were not limited to this so-called investigation but his job as the Secretary to the Chairman of the Foundation for the Future, Anwar Ibrahim.
He added that since the computers and documents were already in the possession of the police, there is no reason to keep him there.
“Nat has the legal right to silence. He will not say a word. So to keep him inside is like punishing him.”
When asked what was the role of the Bukit Aman’s Cyber-Crime Division, it was said that they were mainly involved in information-mining of Nat’s computers (creeps). The Investigating Officer is DSP Victor, his boss ACP Tn Kamaruddin.
Sivarasa also mentioned that the news story which appeared in The Star today is “false and malicious”. (I wish to add – ditto for Sin Chew’s frontpage news) which reported that Nat was arrested over the photoshopped work – “French Dinner for Three”.
Sivarasa said they will consider seeking a revision on Monday. He also said that Nat is in good spirits but there’s no drinking water available in the lockup, so he has to resort to drinking tap water.
Oh… Sivarasa gave a big hug to Nat on behalf of all of us :-P.
Nat was spirited away through the backdoors into a white Wira. We didn’t get to see him.
He will remain in the lockup of IPD Dang Wangi, Jalan Stadium until Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the police will either apply for an extension, or release him without charge, or charge him in court.
(Please go to Malaysiakini for more quotes and background information.)
“Today is Bastille Day. 200 over years ago, the French stormed the prison of Bastille to establish a constitutional democracy.
The event (that) led to the Storming of the Bastille was the sacking of a populist finance minister Jacques Necker.
At the time, French people could be arbitrarily detained on the basis of “lettre de cachet” (king’s letter).
Today Malaysians are still living in the shadow of fear under this authoritarian system. Are we 200 years behind schedule?”