Human rights group Amnesty International Malaysia said last night that the Malaysian police were engaged in reprisal against two rights groups for participating in vigils for Malaysian death row inmate Nagaenthran “Nagen” Dharmalingam.
The group said police were investigating members of the Bar Council and nonprofit Lawyers for Liberty for their roles in two vigils organized outside the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur prior to the execution of a man widely believed to have been mentally impaired – a fact disputed by Singaporean officials.
“This abuse of power—in the form of threats of reprisal against those who participate in peaceful public protests—is unacceptable. The right to gather peacefully is guaranteed under the constitution and under international human rights law,” the group wrote.
Amnesty International Malaysia called on the police to drop their investigations as the gatherings “ended peacefully.”
Zaid Malek, Mahajoth Singh and Nabila Khairuddin of Lawyers for Liberty were called in for questioning Saturday and accused of violating Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act, and Rule 7 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
New Sin Yew and Yohendra Nadarajan, co-chairs of the Bar Council’s human rights committee, were expected to give statements next week for organizing Tuesday’s candlelight vigil attended by 80.
Both Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers and drug enforcement agency have denied that Nagen was handled unfairly, and they insist he was fully aware of what he was doing when he trafficked heroin into Singapore, despite having a reported IQ of 69.
Another Malaysian death row inmate Datchinamurthy Kataiah, who was scheduled to be executed today, was granted a stay of execution yesterday by the Singapore High Court on the grounds that he has a pending civil case before the court.
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