Catholic priest to be charged for taking part in Bersih rally

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

A Catholic priest from Shah Alam will be charged at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court tomorrow [Ed. note: Friday] for taking part in an illegal assembly organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, better known by its Malay acronym Bersih.

Rev Father Paulino Miranda was among 24 people who were arrested at the PJ Civic Centre in November last year, allegedly for taking part in an illegal rally, organised by Bersih in conjunction with its first anniversary.

Others who were arrested include DAP politicians Tony Pua, the MP for Petaling Jaya, Lau Weng San and Ronnie Liu, who are the Selangor state assemblymen for Kampung Tunku and Pandamaran respectively.

A spokesman for the Kuala Lumpur Catholic Lawyers’ Society (CLS) Annou Xavier, told Malaysian Insider that Father Paulino received the summons to appear at the PJ Magistrate’s Court three days ago.

Annou claimed that those arrested were later released on police bail, and were initially told there would be no charges against them.

He added that the CLS would be representing Fr Paulino in court. He called on all Catholics to turn up at the PJ Magistrate’s Court to show their support.

Father Paulino could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman from the Church of the Divine Mercy, where Fr Paulino is the parish priest, told Malaysian Insider he is away attending an annual meeting involving the Catholic bishops and clergymen.

However, she confirmed that Fr Paulino had received the summons and will be present for the court hearing tomorrow [Ed. note: Friday], scheduled for 2pm [Ed. note: 9am].