Remove A-G’s prosecution powers & drop charges against PSM 6

By N Surendran
I refer to the criminal charges brought against the PSM 6 on 3rd August 2011 under s.29(1) Internal Security Act 1960, s.43 and s.48 Societies Act 1966. The charges are related to the Bersih 2.0 peaceful campaign to reform the electoral process.
The continued State-sanctioned persecution of these six dedicated political and social activists bodes ill for our nation. The police force, government and Attorney General have put themselves in an untenable position. They are using State powers to crackdown on a movement for free and fair elections, and to criminalize citizens such as the PSM 6 who participated or supported that movement The charges against the PSM 6 are politically motivated and a blatant abuse of investigation and prosecution powers. These six men and women have a long and spotless record of public service; their persecution shames the nation.   
We note with grave concern that the office of the Attorney General has been consistently used to bring politically motivated criminal charges against opposition politicians and civil society. The powers of the Attorney General must be reviewed and immediate reforms must be instituted. The powers of prosecution should be held by an independent Director of Public Prosecutions, as is the practice in many Commonwealth countries. 
Meanwhile, Keadilan condemns the criminal  investigation launched upon the editor of Suara Keadilan, its journalist and Keadilan leader Latheefa Koya under section 505(b) Penal Code. They were questioned today by Dang Wang police relating to an article published about tear gas canisters. This police investigation is an infringement of the freedom of the press and another instance of the continual police harassment of opposition parties and their news organs. 
We call for: 
a) Immediate withdrawal of all charges against the PSM 6;
b) Urgent reform of the office of the Attorney General and removal of prosecution powers to an independent body;
c) End of police harassment of Suara Keadilan and its journalists.
Issued by,