(FMT) - Unidentifed plainclothes individuals 'nabbed' Radio Free Sarawak deejay Peter John Jaban, who is allegedly on Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's 'wanted' list.
Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) deejay Peter John Jaban managed to “escape” police at the Miri International Airport this morning, but was “abducted” by unidentified plainclothes individuals believed to be linked to the Special Branch.
Jaban, 48, had earlier been detained, photographed and his documents photocopied by Kota Kinabalu police while waiting to board his flight to Miri to join his family for the Gawai celebrations.
In a text message to FMT, sent via a friend, Jaban said he was “ready to be arrested by Special Branch in Sarawak”.
Although he was met on arrival by a group of policemen no arrest was made as they were “still awaiting instruction from the top”.
RFS said in statement that a local PKR leader Dr Michael Teo and lawyer Alan Ling seized the opportunity of the “slow process” and whisked Jaban off.
But RFS founder-editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown later confirmed that the attempt was thwarted by a group of “three unidentified plainclothes personnel” who stopped their car on the road to Miri town and took Jaban away.
Said Rewcastle-Brown: “We are assuming these men are associated with the authorities, but they failed to give their identities to the lawyer.
“To say we are worried is an understatement. Jaban wanted to go home for Gawai. We knew it was risky, but it is a special festival and he wanted to be with his family.”
She said thus far information was sketchy.
“We are desperately trying to find where Jaban is and why he was pulled from a car without any proper reason by unidentified people.
“Our immediate concern is that Jaban is not hurt. We need immediate information as to his whereabouts and his lawyer should be allowed access to him immediately.” she said, adding that Ling will be lodging a police report immediately.
‘Wanted’ man in Sarawak
Rewcastle-Brown said that Jaban had been under pressure from the Malaysian authorities the past year over stories which RFS carried and he had been wary about going home.
The anxiety coupled with his medical condition and desire to see his family had compelled him to risk the trip.
“He is also under medication for high blood pressure and has been feeling the strain of being a ‘wanted man’ the past year for his work on the station.
“We think it is outrageous that he should be hounded for what he is doing since he is just providing a platform for the Dayak people to speak out about what has been happening to them and to their lands.