28 April 2022
Responding to police investigations into two separate vigils calling for clemency for Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, who was executed by the Singapore government on 27 April, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, said:
“It is shocking that the police are questioning several individuals simply for participating in peaceful assemblies and for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The investigations against New Sin Yew and Yohendra Nadarajan, officials of the Bar Council, and against Zaid Malek, Mahajoth Singh and Nabila Khairuddin of Lawyers for Liberty, must be dropped.
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. Yet, in Malaysia, even if a public protest is permitted to proceed with minimal disruption from the police, they are almost always followed by investigations and potential prosecutions of organisers and participants. This harassment makes a mockery of spirit of section 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution, which says all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably. It also violates a fundamental right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
We urge the police to drop investigations into both the 23rd and 26th of April gatherings in support of clemency for Nagaenthran, the Malaysian who has since been executed in Singapore. This practice of the police of summoning participants after a gathering has already ended peacefully serves no purpose other than intimidation and must be stopped immediately.”
Following the 23 April gathering outside the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Zaid Malek, Mahajoth Singh and Nabila Khairuddin of Lawyers for Liberty were called in for questioning by the police on 26 April. According to the police, the three are being investigated under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act, and Rule 7 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
On 26 April, one day before Nagaenthran was to be executed, the Bar Council organised a candlelight vigil outside the Singapore High Commission. The vigil was attended by an estimated 80 people. The following day, New Sin Yew and Yohendra Nadarajan, the co-chairpersons of the Bar Council’s human rights committee, were asked by the police to give a statement next week.
Both gatherings were part of domestic and international protests against the execution by the Singapore government of Malaysian national Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who was sentenced to
the mandatory death penalty in 2010 for importing into Singapore 42.72 grams of diamorphine (heroin) in 2009 and executed on 27 April.
Another Malaysian man, Datchinamurthy Kataiah, was set to be executed by Singapore on 29 April for drug-related offences. On 28 April, he was granted a stay of execution by the Singapore High Court pending the outcome of his legal challenge.
For further inquiries, please contact [email protected]