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Bar Council to sue govt, IGP, Brickfields police chief

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 15, 2009

MALAYSIA TODAY

Written by Sharon Tan, The Edge

The Malaysian Bar Council will file a civil suit against the government, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Brickfields OCPD Asst Supt of Police Wan Abdul Bahari Wan Khalid for the unlawful arrest of the five legal aid centre lawyers.

The Malaysian Bar at its EGM today which was attended by 1,428 members also called for the resignation of the IGP and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein.

Bar council president Kesuvan Ragunath said while the proviso in Section 28 of the Criminal Procedure Code allowed police to deny access to lawyers, it had been abused.

“Lawyers are part of the criminal justice system and we are stakeholders in the system. Why is there a need for lawyer when an accused person is arrested or questioned? It’s for one simple reason. It is for public confidence in the criminal justice system.

“If there is a lawyer present, it promotes accountability because lawyers can immediately correct any police excess on the spot, prevent the third degree and make sure police are answerable to legality,” said Ragunath at a press conference after the EGM.

He added that a home minister who said that lawyers were not above the law was not the reply or solution the Bar Council wanted to hear.

“The police are also not above the law. We have have the Federal Constitution. We expect respect for the Rule of Law,” said Ragunath.

Five lawyers from the KL legal aid centre in their capacity as advocates and solicitors were arrested on May 7. They had requested the police at the Brickfields police station for access to the detained persons who were arrested on the same night while holding a candlelight vigil over the arrest of political scientist Wong Chin Huat.

The lawyers were released the following day at about 3pm despite repeated requests by other lawyers for their immediate release.

The Malaysia Bar unanimously passed 11 resolutions which also include a call on the government to establish an independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission in its original form to serve as an independent external oversight mechanism.

The Bar will also seek a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the arrests

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