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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ibrahim Ali to Journalists on Bersih 2.0

Perkasa threatens chaos, but no one arrested?

Malaysia has seen its share of demonstrations. We have seen the rules being bent, twisted and downright broken to accommodate any rally organised by or affiliated to the supporters of the government of the day. We have seen the police stand idly by as violence was being threatened.

We have seen bloodshed being promised. We have seen thuggish behaviour exhibited. All under the watchful and approving eyes of the authorities. Why, we even have the home minister standing up to defend the rights of the rakyat to protest and to carry out extremely offensive behaviour like stomping on cow's heads. How very thoughtful, magnanimous, democratic and considerate of him. But this, only if it is carried out by pro government bodies.

When it comes to NGOs and peaceful candlelight vigils where people gather to sing Negara Ku, or Bersih marches where people wish to exercise their constitutionally given right to peacefully make a point, the police and the home ministry weighs in like a sledgehammer with FRU trucks, water cannons, and ISA the ready to be used immediately on the spot, in stark contrast to pro government assemblies mentioned earlier where they will allow it to carry on and make token arrests only if there is a big public outcry.

It is everybody's right to peacefully assemble. Bersih has a right. Perkasa has a right. Umno Youth has the same right. People at Bersih will and have defended the rights of the other two organisations to demonstrate peacefully.

But if you have been following the chain of events in the lead up to this, you will see that Perkasa and Umno Youth only want to exercise their rights so that they can deny the same rights to Bersih.

They do this by making threats, uttering racist remarks and trying to instill fear of physical harm should the rally go ahead. They have said it openly - if you march, harm may/will come to you. And this is planned specifically to disrupt the already planned Bersih March because it will be held at the same time, at the same place with the sole objective of creating a confrontational situation.

Bersih, it must be noted, have, in all their communications and statements emphasised the intended peaceful nature of the march as opposed to the openly provocative and belligerent stance taken by Perkasa and Umno Youth.

And guess what our suddenly very efficient police did? They raided Bersih HQ, arrested and locked up Bersih people and now yellow Bersih T shirts are illegal. Red T Shirts are apparently not illegal at this moment.

Does this not strike anyone as illogical? Does this make sense at all?

Does this not make it appear like death threats and racist remarks are perfectly acceptable whereas peaceful overtures, even cartoons and poetry are a threat to national security?

This is happening because our government has, with its lopsided policies and selective enforcement of the law, created a class of people who feels it is their god given rght to do anything they want while denying others the same rights.

“Do what I say, not what I do” is what they are telling us.

Now, more than ever, the rakyat must surely see the need for Bersih to march on 9th July 2011.
- Stan CH Lee - Malaysiakini

Six PSM activists re-arrested under EO

Six PSM leaders will be taken to Bukit Aman to face charges under the Emergency Ordinance.

FULL REPORT
PETALING JAYA: Six of the 30 Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) activists whose seven-day remand period ended today have been re-arrested at the Seberang Prai Utara district police headquarters, Butterworth, under the Emergency Ordinance (EO).
The six are Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar, deputy chairman M Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sugumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan and national Youth chief R Sarathbabu.

Jeyakumar is the first Member of Parliament to be detained under the EO.

According to PSM national treasurer, A Sivarajan, the six were seen exiting the northern Seberang Perai district headquarters when they were handcuffed and led back inside.

“It has been confirmed that they are being held under the EO 3(1) which constitutes detention without trial for 60 days,” Sivarajan told FMT. “But we are still in the dark about what exactly the six are being charged with.”

“The lawyers have been told that the orders have come from Bukit Aman and that they will only be told of the charge once the six are brought there. I don’t know when they will be leaving for Kuala Lumpur. We are still waiting but there is a high likelihood it will be by tonight.”

The 30 were detained at the Sungai Dua toll plaza in the North-South Expressway while travelling in a chartered tour bus from Kedah to Penang last Saturday.

They were remanded for seven days to assist police investigation under Section 122 of the Penal Code for allegedly waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

‘Unlawful and an ‘insult’

Meanwhile, PSM chairman Nasir Hashim called the re-arrests a “shame” and an “insult to the courts”, saying that the court had already passed a verdict to release the six yet the police overrode it.

“I have no doubt that the six will be held beyond July 9,” he said. “The hype over communism has already been created and they have to keep this issue alive to incite more public hatred of Bersih.”
“This is clearly a political decision. It has nothing to do with anything that the six have done. The authorities are trying to enforce the illegality of the rally and are using our comrades to do so.”

Nasir added that he fully expected to be picked up for questioning within the next week based on his previous experience during the Ops Lalang in 1987.

He was the former chairman of Insan and was detained for 15 months under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“The police went after my comrades and then they came after me,” he recalled. “So it’s only a matter of time now.”

Suaram, meanwhile, has condemned the use of the EO on the six as “unlawful” and a “violation of human rights”.

It has also demanded the immediate release of the six and frequent access to legal assistance and family.
Meanwhile, PSM secretary-general Arutchelvan told FMT that a group of lawyers headed by Aziz Sulaiman were prevented from entering the police station to see the six.

However, the police allowed the families of the six detainees to visit them for 15 minutes.
Arutchelvan expects them to be detained under the ISA soon

Hisham declares Bersih an outlaw organisation

(Malaysiakini) The Coalition for Clean & Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has been declared an unlawful organisation effective yesterday, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) said today.

In a statement, ROS director-general Abdul Rahman Othman said the declaration was made by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein under section 5 of the Societies Act 1966.

Investigations showed that Bersih 2.0 was not a registered organisation, he said.

The statement said Bersih 2.0 had been moving actively, creating unease among the people.

It said the coalition had also been spreading pamphlets containing propaganda with the aim of toppling the government.

Its activities had brought about negative impact on the country's image and threatened public order, security, economic prosperity and the country's sovereignty, and undermined harmony among the people, it said.

Hindraf outlawed in 2008

Bersih 2.0 plans to organise rallies in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak on July 9 to call for clean and fair elections.

In October 2008, the Hindu Rights Actions Force (Hindraf) was declared an illegal organisation.

Then home minister Syed Hamid Albar said the decision to outlaw Hindraf was made after facts and evidence that showed the organisationwas being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality.

Hindraf organised a massive rally calling for a better deal for Indian Malaysians on Nov 10, 2007 - two weeks after 40,000 turned out for the first Bersih rally.
Registrar of Society Act 1966
hindraf british petition rally 251107 uthayakumar maya hotel5. Power of the Minister to declare a society unlawful

(1) It shall be lawful for the Minister in his absolute discretion
by order to declare unlawful any society or branch or class or
description of any societies which in his opinion, is or is being
used for purposes prejudicial to or incompatible with the interest
of the security of Malaysia or any part thereof, public order or
morality.
(2) An order made under this section shall be published in the
Gazette and shall operate to cancel immediately the registration
of any such society or societies, if already registered under this
Act; and no society against which an order made under this section
applies shall be so registered.

(3) The provisions of section 17 shall apply in respect of a local
society affected by the order made under this section.

Police the villain of the piece

The inhumane treatment of the detainees will not earn the government the people's trust.
COMMENT
The country’s police force is one stubborn lot. Having unabashedly earned for itself a besmirched image, the force shows no signs of repentance. Instead, the brutality meted out by the cops in uniform continues.

Abusing their powers to punish the supporters of the Bersih 2.0 “Walk for Democracy” rally is the latest preoccupation of the police, with blessings from Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

The nation’s police force, the Royal Malaysian Police or Polis DiRaja Malaysia, has itself to blame for its maligned and tainted image. There has been no effort made to transform the police force into a professional and law-abiding entity. As it stands, the cops play judge, jury and executioner, deciding the fate of the detainees.

The latest brutality displayed by the police was on June 25 when they arrested Sungai Siput MP Dr D Jeyakumar and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) deputy chief M Sarasvathy, among others.

The police used the lame pretext that Jeyakumar and his followers were out to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and trying to revive the Communist ideology.

Five police reports had been lodged at the Penang police headquarters alleging that the police there subjected the three and others arrested on June 25 to mental torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
Jeyakumar suffered health problem while in police custody and had to be warded at the Penang General Hospital. He, however, has been denied visits by family and friends.

Once again the police shamelessly and blatantly flouted all basic rights of these “detainees” when the latter were refused their medication, water and physically abused by police personnel.

Was this abuse and torture the idea of Hishammuddin, to kill off the spirit and determination of Jeyakumar and fellow activists? If yes, Hishammuddin has only confirmed the sleazy and abusive nature of Malaysia’s police force.

No water, no medicine

It was reported that Jeyakumar, who has a heart ailment, did not get his medication on time while in detention. His sister, Dr Prema, in one of the police reports at the Penang police headquarters, said while she managed to give her brother his medication the day before, the police however failed to give him his next dose on time the next day.

Jeyakumar’s wife, meanwhile, said the police turned down her request to give her husband his medicine on time, agreeing to administer it themselves much later on in the day.

Jeyakumar was among the 30 arrested while distributing anti-Barisan Nasional leaflets as part of a three-day information campaign in the northern part of the Peninsula.

Of the 30 detained, seven were placed in custody at the Penang police headquarters, 21 in Kepala Batas and two at the Sungai Dua police station in Butterworth. There was also a report made claiming ill-treatment in the Kepala Batas police lock-up.

The report in Kepala Batas, lodged by PSM central committee member, V Paneer Selvam, stated: “Detainee G Pakiaj Letchumy was punched and spat at in the face by the cops; detainees were told to drink from the toilet bowls to quench their thirst; a diabetic detainee who asked for mineral water to consume her medicine was instead given syrup; detainee P Jothi was kicked by police personnel and the lock-up toilets had no water supply.”

Other reports alleged mental torture through solitary confinement in an attempt to extract confessions.
Another report was made by lawyer Rowena Nair who said he was denied access to his clients.

On June 29, police raided the office of Bersih in Petaling Jaya. Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah justified the raid based on a tip-off that claimed illegal activities were taking place at the premises. In the raid, police confiscated hundreds of Bersih T-shirts and other Bersih apparels.

Also on June 29, police arrested 14 DAP and PKR members in Sungai Siput for possessing the yellow T-shirt associated with the Bersih 2.0 “Walk for Democracy” rally. That brought to 95 those arrested thus far in connection with the rally.

Umno the real bully and culprit


The United Malay National Organisation (Umno), the dominant party in Malaysia, is sparing no effort to terrorise both organisers and supporters of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally, using the police as a front.

The people are all too aware and disgusted with the police bullying ways of “punishing” detainees claimed to be a threat to national security. Is there any surprise then why the people are angry with the Barisan Nasional (BN) government for abusing its powers to fulfil its hidden agendas?

Hishammuddin appears to be gung-ho in putting an end to Bersih 2.0. But he is barking up the wrong tree, knowing well that if the July 9 “‘Walk for Democracy” happens, it will mark the end of the BN era, a fact which Umno is unwilling to digest.

Just as irresponsible is the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar who is creating unfounded panic among the public, saying the Bersih 2.0 rally might involve casualities.

Based on police analysis and observation since June 6, it was concluded that the rally would lead to tension, chaos and destruction of property, injuries and even loss of lives.

What observation and analysis is Ismail blabbering about? How does distributing T-shirts and leaflets become illegal, when the objective is to engage the people to walk “for” democracy?

As of June 29, according to Ismail, 101 people had been arrested and 45 were still in police custody.
“I am monitoring all the words and actions of all people. If any individual does something that goes against the law, we will act,” Ismail said.

Instead of intimidating the people, Ismail should take action against his men who are openly misusing their powers by physically, emotionally and mentally abusing activists detained in connection with the rally. It will be the police and not Bersih 2.0 who will have the people’s blood on their hands.

Clearly, Ismail is unfit to talk about safety and fear for it is his very own “boys” who have been terrorising the people through their baleful actions.

Such is the paranoia that even a poem penned and recited by national laureate A Samad Said at a Bersih 2.0 event started giving the powers that be sleepless nights and he was called in for questioning.

All said and done, the writings are on the wall. BN and Umno have to stop playing bully and respect the fundamental rights of Malaysians, irrespective of their political beliefs.

To cowardly intimidate and beat up activists detained under doubtful reasons to hush up the truth will never earn the police, BN and Umno the people’s trust.

India: Muslim Sharia judge misunderstands Islam, forces minor girl into marriage

A qazi is a Sharia judge. Somehow this one got the crazy idea that because Muhammad, the excellent example of conduct (cf. Qur'an 33:21) consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was nine and he was fifty-four, that therefore child marriage must be just fine. If only our Western Islamic apologists had been there to explain it all to him!

"Sudanese held for forcing minor into marriage," from IBNLive, June 29:
HYDERABAD: Following the arrest of a qazi on Monday for trying to forcibly marry off a young poor Muslim girl to an Arab Sheikh, police on Tuesday arrested two Sudanese nationals, two qazis and two female pimps for forcing a minor girl to enter into a contract marriage with one of the foreigners. The Sudanese national Mohammed Elshafie Mohammed Elhassan alias Ansari of AC Guards, who is in the city on a student visa, married the girl to exploit her and later leave her when he completes his studies, police said. His friend also tried to take advantage of the girl. Though there have been instances of Arab Sheikhs marrying young girls from the city, this is the first case where an African national was involved. The contract marriage came to light after the 16-year-old girl from Bela Colony in Moghulpura escaped from Ansari’s clutches and approached the police. The nikah had been performed on June 9 and the girl lodged a complaint with the police on June 23, 16 days after the marriage.
According to South Zone DCP Vineet Brijlal, the nikah was performed without the consent of the girl. “The girl hails from a very poor family and her father had expired eight years ago. She is one of five siblings,” the DCP said.

25-year-old Ansari is pursuing B.Sc from a private college at Punjagutta. Ansari’s 27-year-old friend, Khaled Elrashid Khalid, also from Sudan, is pursuing a computer course in the city and allegedly tried to outrage the modesty of the girl.

Vineet Brijlal said two pimps - Zahera Begum of Kalapathar and Ghousia Begum of Falaknuma - were operating in the Old City in search of young girls to marry off to foreigners.
The women take the help of two Qazis, Syed Shakeeluddin alias Shakeel Ahmed and Syed Abdul Malik, both from AC Guards to get the marriages performed.

“Ansari gave Rs 50,000 as meher to the girl’s family and also some amount to the pimps. The nikah was performed after showing that the girl was a major and had consented,” Brijlal said.
“Ansari did not intend to take the girl away with him.

He married her only to take advantage of her,” the DCP added. The accused had also taken the thumb impressions of the girl on the day of marriage so that they could execute a ‘Qula Nama’ (divorce) when the Sudanese leaves.

Police suspect that six to seven similar marriages have taken place in the past six months. “We are trying to identify the girls and a special team has been formed to track them,” the DCP said.

He added that they are also asking the Wakf Board to ensure strict implementation of guidelines by the Qazis while performing marriages....
Good luck with that.

Young voters key to Pakatan victory in GE13, says Mat Sabu

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is confident young voters will deliver the pact at least seven states in the next general election, says PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu.

The popular leader, better known as Mat Sabu, said the federal opposition plans on retaining Kelantan, Penang, Selangor, Kedah and winning back Perak.

Mohamad says ‘young people are our friends’. — File pic
He added that PR intended to take over Negri Sembilan, Terengganu and will deliver a “shock” in Johor, although he declined to elaborate if the “shock” meant seizing the Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold or increasing PR’s seats.


“Young people are our friends; young voters are more inclined towards change. All races love us now,” said Mohamad with a smile in a recent interview with The Malaysian Insider.
The popular ceramah speaker noted a “very strong” presence among the youths at PR programmes in Negri Sembilan, Terengganu and Johor.

“We only need four seats to control Negri Sembilan...we can take nine seats to get Terengganu,” said the former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee.

According to the Election Commission, 70 per cent of the 4.2 million unregistered voters are between the ages of 21 and 40, and about 450,000 Malaysians turn 21 each year, the eligible age to vote in the country.

The number of voters being registered is also picking up pace, with some 12 million on the electoral rolls ahead of a snap election widely speculated to be held early next year.

Young people were a key voter segment that swung in favour of the opposition in Election 2008, carrying it to record gains.

The loose pact swept to power in five states and denied BN its customary two-thirds majority of Parliament when it won 82 parliamentary seats.

Mohamad stressed that PR’s losses in a recent string of by-elections — namely Hulu Selangor, Galas, Batu Sapi, Tenang, Merlimau and Kerdau — were not a measure of its future performance in the general polls.

“During by-elections, we fight against government machinery. (But), during general elections, the battle is more focused on local candidates,” said the popular grassroots leader.

As long-serving Kelantan Mentri Besar and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat turns 80 this year, Mohamad said Kelantan remained the Islamist party’s stronghold no matter who helmed the state.
Mohamad pointed out that BN could only win Selangor through electoral fraud as the ruling coalition aims to recapture the country’s richest state at any cost.

He also expressed confidence in making inroads in Felda plantations, which are traditionally seen as BN’s vote bank, and cited PAS’s championing of settlers’ rights.

BN indirectly promoting Bersih rally, says Nizar

The former Perak menteri besar believes that more people will support the July 9 rally as a result of the harsh police action against the Bersih supporters and organisers.

IPOH: Perak Pakatan Rakyat claims that Barisan Nasional (BN) is indirectly promoting the Bersih 2.0 rally with its suppressive moves to stop the peaceful rally on July 9.

“BN is conducting an adverse publicity campaign on the Bersih 2 rally through the mainstream media. But it is adding more fuel to the call for clean and free elections and encouraging more Malaysians to participate in this peaceful march,” Perak Pakatan’s chief Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said.

“The high-handed police action against the Bersih organisers and supporters who wore yellow T-shirts is driving more angry Malaysians to lend support to this peaceful assembly,” Nizar said .

He said the BN government and police should allow the Bersih rally to proceed without hindrance, but they made the mistake of trying to suppress a people’s movement.

“The right of every Malaysian to participate in a peaceful assembly is enshrined in the Federal Constitution and no one can take this away. There is no need for a police permit,” Nizar, the former Pakatan Perak menteri besar, told FMT today.

He pointed out that the first Bersih rally in 2007 was peaceful but turned ugly when the police violently cracked down on the march.

He said the aggressive response eventually backfired on the BN when it lost its two-thirds majority in the 2008 historic general election.

Nizar hopes that the police will not make the same mistake again in the Bersih 2.0 rally, saying that if they do, it will cause greater negative consequences for the BN in the coming 13th general election.

He said that public disorder will only be caused by the Umno and Perkasa rallies, and not from the peaceful Bersih 2.0 march.

He also said that it was possible that the current spate of arrests in the run-up to the July 9 march will be the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

“These drastic police actions are making people jittery and angry. It will only fuel their hatred of the government,” said Nizar, who is the Bukit Gantang MP.

On police warning that the ISA might be used on leaders and organisers of Bersih 2.0, Nizar said: “It is will be the greatest mistake that the BN government can make as this will only unleash the fury of the people’s power.”

Bangladeshi Hindus and other minorities denounced the Islamic Constitution.

 

Big protest in Bangladesh against Islamic Constitution

Sambuddha Gupta | Dhaka

Dhaka stirs with Big Protests. Thousands of protesters marched in capital Dhaka on Thursday against Bangladesh parliament adopted an Islamic constitution, steering away from a secular political culture, which was enshrined in 1972 constitution.
A half a mile long rally organized by a conglomerate of Hindu and other ethnic groups, left parties and pro-secular groups, chanting anti-government slogans and waving red flags marched towards the parliament, where the ruling party and her alliance lawmakers hastily adopted several amendments to the constitution on Thursday noon.
……………………………
Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh clearly slammed the approval of the 15th constitutional amendment bill to retain Islam as the state religion as it was against the secular character of the constitution granted and accepted by the new bornBangladesh Republic in 1972. Quashing that National spirit of equality and secularism, Bangladesh’s Parliament approved the 15th Amendment Bill 2011 recently that scraps the controversial nonpartisan caretaker system to conduct general elections and also retains Islam as the state religion. The free thinkers society and a small section in Muslim Community consiting eminent scholars, writers, human rightists also raised their humble voice in the cause of retention of the Secular Constitution of Bangladesh as it was adopted in 1972.
………..
Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Hindu Boudhha Christian Oikya Parishad (HBCOP), a key organisation of religious minorities in Bangladesh, said the entire nation wanted the restoration of the spirit of secularism.”We are deeply disappointed…this has violated our fundamental rights and that is why we are rejecting the amendment,” Dasgupta told the news agency PTI. The HBCOP claimed that it deprived the country’s nearly 2.5 crore religious and ethnic minorities from their rights of Hinduism and other religious beliefs. Amongst them, Hindus are the second largest religious affiliation in Bangladesh. There are over 150 million Hindus in the country, according to the 2001 census. Dasgupta said that the HBCOP, headed by former army general CR Datta (Veer Uttam), has called a nationwide day-long hunger strike on Friday on 1st July.
………………..
The organisation would also stage a black flag protest in front of the National Press Club in the heart of the capital tomorrow. Dasgupta said.”We fear that the development has pushed us to a situation where the followers of different religious faiths will abstain from casting their votes in next elections or wage a campaign demanding separate election in reserve seats..”  He said. “Bangladesh’s 1972 constitution contained four state principles, including secularism that was scrapped under the government of military ruler Ziaur Rahman. Former military ruler Hussain Muhammad Ershad declared Islam the state religion in 1988 by amending the constitution. Currently HM Ershad the chief of Jatiya Party which is aligned with the Awami League-led ruling coalition Government in Bangladesh, is again playing his vital role to retain his Islamic amendments in the present 15th amendment in constitution to abolish the basic principles of original constitution”.

The irritations and the agitations in BD minority groups has no impact perhaps in theCultural Citadel of Asia at Kolkata due to an inertia of Bengal Intellects absorbed with pity secularism equates there not to speak anything about Islamic nuisance and a great PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hassina. However, Basudev Dhar, Dhaka correspondent of Dainik Statesman, a flourishing Bengali Daily published from Kolkata regularly reports the persecutions upon the BD minorities and Hindus by the majority Muslims as a most regular feature there.
……………….
The onslaught upon the BD Hindus and other minorities are so reckoning, this may be presented in a form of social appeal and deputation to the all Indian High Commissionand embassies including the United Nation forums, so the rights of minorities in Bangladesh cannot be tampered any more. The status of BD minorities are now clearly in  a level of existential threat facing a process of ethnic cleansing now so promoted  through the softness of constitution amendments with a ensuing hard dome of complete Talibalization of Bangladesh.
…………………..
And there is a very little difference between Ziaur Rahman, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hassina in the question to accept Islam as a State religion of Bangladesh. They are all pro Islamic and the majority of Muslim people can never be a liberal society to accept the practices of others in open mind in its habit, homes and state politics. Bangladesh is telling this truth once again.

Torture of the child martyr: 'Rebel', 13, shot, kneecapped and had genitals removed before being killed by Syria's sadistic regime

The child martyr: Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, 13, was tortured to death by Syrian security forcesDevotedly washed and sprinkled with rose petals, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb lies prepared for burial.
But the rituals of death cannot wipe away the horrific injuries that have mutilated his body almost beyond recognition.

Nor do they blot out that Hamza - riddled with bullets, kneecapped and with neck broken and penis hacked off - has the rounded cheeks and gentle face of a child.

The child martyr: Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, 13, was tortured to death by Syrian security forces

At 13, he is one of the youngest known victims of Syria's ruthless crackdown on protesters who have tried to overthrow the government of  President Bashar al-Assad.
The teenager's family were told not to speak of his terrible fate. But in a pitiful act of defiance, they posted the footage of his corpse online.

The action led to his father being arrested last week. His whereabouts are unknown.

Brutal: In this still from the film made by his family, bullet wounds, burns and bruising can be seen on Hamza's bodyPosted on YouTube, the video is accompanied by a chilling commentary which details the worst of Hamza's dreadful wounds.

An unseen attendant tenderly shifts the scarred limbs and head so that the viewer can see each injury, including two bullets which were fired through each arm and then entered his chest.

'Look at the evidence of his torture,' the narrator urges. 'Take a look at the bruises on his face and his neck that was broken. Take a look at the bruises on his right legs
'In addition there is worse. They did not satisfy themselves with all the torturing so they cut off his genitals.'

At this point, the video is censored as the wounds are too horrific to show.
Hero of the revolution: Hamza's death has prompted a renewed surge of support for the rebellionBrutal: In this still from the film made by his family, bullet wounds, burns and bruising can be seen on Hamza's body

Hero of the revolution: Hamza's death has prompted a renewed surge of support for the rebellion
Hamza was picked up by security forces at a protest in Jiza, a village in the rebel province of Dar'a in Syria on April 29.

For an agonising month, his desperate family waited for him to go home, terrified of what had become of him.

And when his broken body was finally returned, the injuries which disfigured almost every part of his flesh told the horrific story that he could not.

Amid the mass of cigarette burns, the bullet wounds and bruises, it is impossible to know what finally killed him.

But it is perhaps unsuprising that Hamza, with his childish features and innocent smile, has become the most potent symbol of Syria's uprising.

Thousands of protesters took to the country's bloodied streets this weekend chanting his name.
Children demonstrated in Damascas while people clambered on the roofs in Aleppo to mark the 'Day of Hamza'.

In the city of Hama, 116 miles from the capital, a huge crowd occupied the central square clutching copes of his photographs in their hands. 

The protests go on: Hundreds take to the streets in a day of rage in Talbiseh, in the central province of Homs
The protests go on: Hundreds take to the streets in a day of rage in Talbiseh, in the central province of Homs 

Storm force: This image shows protesters hurling stones at dozens of soldiers in Banias, on the Mediterranean coast
Storm force: This image shows protesters hurling stones at dozens of soldiers in Banias, on the Mediterranean coast 

The video footage of his mutilated body posted online - and broadcast on Al Jazeera - has further fuelled the anger of Syria's protesters.

Facebook group 'We are all Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, the Child Martyr' has attracted 58,000 people while the English version has 3,000 members.

Radwan Ziadeh, an exiled human rights activist told the Washington Post the boy had already become a symbol of the Syrian revolution.

'(His death) is the sign of the sadism of the Assad regime and its security forces,' he said.
'Torture is usual in Syria. It’s not something new or strange. What is special about Hamza is that he was only 13 years old. He really is a child.'

The Syrian uprisnig against President Bashar al-Assad is now entering its seventh week.
Foreign journalists are banned from entering the country and the rebellion has been conducted amid a media blackout.

But stories of the brutality of Assad's troops have still trickled out indicating that protests have been ruthlessly suppressed.

Perception-Walk for Democracy.wmv

Police acting against the Constitution and Public Interest to retain UMNO in pow

Senator S.Ramakrishnan,

The berserk reaction of arresting, handcuffing anyone wearing yellow T-shirt or shirt is act of disrespectful to our royalty. Yellow is a royal color therefore it is an insult and disgrace to the king. They should remove the term 'Di Raja' from PDRM and replace with ‘Di Umno’. The desperate actions of police to please their UMNO bosses are against the rule of law and not supported by the constitution. Even Suhakam had argued that the Police Act 1967 is in contradiction to the rights enshrined under the federal constitution and international human rights declaration but the police couldn’t be bothered. Police are acting like thugs and criminals working for UMNO and not behaving like a law enforcement agency to protect law and order.

The statement of IGP that T-shirts with messages in support of Bersih have been outlawed because they were related to an illegal assembly is degrading and unbecoming for a senior law enforcer. Bersih Organisers have applied to police for approval and Bersih’s intention is legal and is in public interest and within constitution. Just because the police want to bend backward to please UMNO and it refuge to issue permit and the peaceful rally becomes illegal. The UMNO government is forcing all media and law enforcement agencies to break the law just to protect them. What is legal or illegal is now decided by police and not the constitution. Malaysia has become a police state, no doubt about that.

UMNO mouth piece and racist Ibrahim Ali can warn the Chinese community to stock up their provisions for a possible riot. That is not instigation and mischievous intent but wearing yellow T-shirt is against the section 27 of police act 1967. Bersih organizers are intimidated and threatened with draconian laws but police cannot find any offence and national threat with the real trouble makers PERKASA and UMNO youth. Police have lost respect, thrust and moral authority to enforce law and order. They are protecting UMNO to retain power at any cost and not the people who pay police their salary.

UMNO rules with divide and rule policy. Therefore it cannot effort the civil society and multi racial and multi religious Malaysians coming together. These are against UMNO’s interest. Therefore they use police when it means breaking the law to protect them. It is unfortunate that the police officers have allowed UMNO to be used to stay in power. UMNO do not want electoral reform but to keep things as they are. Election commission too have allowed themselves to be ordered at the whims and fancy of UMNO.

while in malaysia, concerned citizens, NGOs and political parties clamour for free and fair election, election commission is sents its officers as observers to election in Thailand. 3.9 million eligible voters in malaysia are not registered as voters.  malaysian election commission must clean their own backyard for advising others how run a fair and free malaysian.

Despite snubs and smears, Bersih pushes on

Representatives of women’s NGOs hold a press conference to ask that Bersih be allowed to proceed, July 1, 2011. — Picture by Melissa Chi
 
PETALING JAYA, July 1 — Despite repeated warnings and claims of communist links from the authorities, the Bersih secretariat today insisted they will continue organising a rally for free and fair elections as they are “not challenging anyone”.


Police have said they will ensure the July 9 rally does not take place while leaders from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government have warned people to stay away from the Bersih movement, which they claim has been hijacked by political interests.
“I appeal to the government to be rational. Deal with the issue brought to the table and give us an explanation... don’t attack the civil societies.

“They think they are killing the nerve of this campaign. But in fact, it has gone beyond this the secretariat. The rakyat is the nerve,” Empower executive director Maria Chin Abdullah told reporters here today.

Empower’s premises acts as the Bersih secretariat, which was raided by police two days ago. Seven activists were called in for questioning while police seized goods related to the planned rally.

Najib said he could mobilise three million Umno members for the rally. — file pic
Pictures of Samsiah Fakeh and Abdullah CD, former leaders of the now-defunct Communist Party of Malaya, were also confiscated, and were used to link the NGO with communism. Maria said the communist claim was to discredit the organisation.


All Bersih-related materials are now deemed illegal as they are said to be promoting the illegal July 9 rally.

Maria said Bersih, which represents 62 non-governmental organisations, has gathered 5,000 people to act as security personnel, with 100 doctors volunteering to be part of the medical team along with lawyers to deal with the immediate arrests.

“If there is any violence, certainly it will not come from Bersih,” she said, adding that the police should co-operate with them to ensure the rally will be peaceful.

Police have shut off all forms of negotiations with all organisers of rallies on July 9, with the Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar warning earlier today that the police will make sure the rallies do not take place.

He said there would be no more room for discussions, and warned the organisers — Bersih, Perkasa and Umno Youth — to be prepared to be arrested if they did not abort their respective rallies.

Despite Khalid’s announcement, Maria said they will still arrange for a meeting with him again in the coming week.

Bersih yesterday asked the police to suggest different routes and directions for the three groups on July 9 to ensure that its rally goes off without a hitch.

WAO executive director Ivy Josiah said it is not Bersih’s intention to challenge the government and that the rally should not be seen as a threat.

“We are not challenging anyone. We just want a free and fair election. It is not a competition,” she said.

Police have outlawed Bersih-related paraphernalia. — file pic
Her remarks was in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement that he could have three million members from Umno to take part in the rally, but that it would be irresponsible to do so while adding that the BN government would not resort to force.


“We think every political party should be behind this. We’re not looking for a fight,” she said.
Maria pointed out that Bersih is a civil society movement, not a political one.

She also said that the eight demands by Bersih have been presented to the Election Commission (EC) “many years ago” but no action has been taken.

Election watchdog Bersih along with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties are gearing up for a rally this July 9, the second such gathering calling for electoral reform.

Among others, the group is demanding that the government ensure a clean and fair general election, reforms in the postal voting system and an extended campaign period of at least 21 days.

The first rally, also organised by Bersih, was held in 2007 and saw some 50,000 people take to the capital’s streets. The gathering eventually descended into chaos when the police deployed tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators.

Hindraf and Bersih: Last chance to unite

Perhaps, if the Hindraf movement will not join the rally, then hopefully, individual Hindraf members will participate in their personal capacities.
COMMENT
One name stands out in the Bersih 2.0 rally: Hindraf. In a communiqué issued on June 15, Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar said that Hindraf would not participate in the march because Pakatan Rakyat had reneged on its promise to Hindraf after the 2008 general election.
Uthayakumar said, “We are not participating because Pakatan failed to endorse our 18-point demand made in 2007.”

Might Hindraf be persuaded to reconsider its earlier decision to stay away?

When would we be given another golden opportunity to show unity among the various communities in Malaysia? In another 54 years perhaps?

People of various ages, faiths, races and backgrounds would be coming together on July 9 in a show of strength.

The message to the Barisan Nasional-led coalition is that we would not tolerate lip service anymore, that electoral reforms are necessary and that human rights abuses cannot be ignored.

It is also a deliberate snub to the Election Commission because its offer to talk and engage with us has only come at the last minute.

Back in 2007, the first Bersih march on Nov 10 and the subsequent Hindraf rally on Nov 25 were instrumental in forcing a change in people’s attitude towards BN.

There is no denying that Hindraf’s leaders were successful in galvanising the movement to stand behind Pakatan. Also without the support of the Hindraf movement, whose members turned out in the tens of thousands, the outcome of the 2008 general election might have been different.

These two marches in 2007 contributed towards the significant opposition gains in the 2008 polls.


Using the element of fear

It is obvious that all the parties and individuals who are opposed to the “Walk for Democracy” are using the fear element to cow the public into staying at home.

Fear is what makes Umno-BN and its cronies try their best to stop the march because a mobilised rakyat demanding urgent democratic and electoral reforms is a dangerous beast.

Fear is what drove MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek to warn his party members against joining the march, saying that it was politically motivated and illegal: “We cannot accept the objective of this illegal rally.”
Fear and shame drove the EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar to declare that Bersih was merely a front for Pakatan to increase its bid for Putrajaya.

He said, “There was (a 2007) demonstration and as result, a momentum was built and in the 2008 election (the opposition) won big… now, the rumour is that snap polls will be called and history will be repeated.
“(They think) let us have Bersih 2.0 with more supporters, the momentum will grow and possibly win Putrajaya.”

Wan Ahmad told S Ambiga, the Bersih chairman, to be apolitical: “If Bersih separates itself from political parties, then we can meet Bersih as a member of civil society as its agenda is for the good of all.”

However, Wan Ahmad forgets that if he had not been a lame chairman of the EC and discharged his duties professionally, then Malaysia might not have been lumped into such a quagmire.

In another attempt to blacken the Bersih organisers, Umno sympathisers have said that the EC was efficient, that elections in Malaysia were fair, otherwise, the opposition would not have been able to win five states in the last general election.

Have these people considered that if the elections had been truly clean, fair and free, and the EC did not collude with Umno, the opposition might not have won just five states but would have scored outright victories throughout Malaysia?

Last February, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak claimed that Hindraf did not need to represent the Indian community because the government was capable of looking after the interests of the Indians.

He said, “We have taken action on the question of Indian community interests, meaning that they don’t need Hindraf, they only need BN.

After 54 years of BN, what improvements in living standards or educational and work opportunities have the Indians to show for BN’s supposed concern?

Time to be magnanimous

But BN alone is not to blame; Uthayakumar of Hindraf is still seething from being let down by Pakatan after the 2008 general election.

True. It is frustrating and a serious point of grievance.

Hindraf leaders have striven so hard for the Indians but have achieved very little because they have been let down by politicians. They have been used, as every political party uses us, the rakyat, for their own means and to fulfil their own agendas.

There are almost 850,000 Indian voters, yet there is not a single constituency with an Indian majority.
In 2007, Hindraf was said to be linked with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam but none of the politicians or any social activist defended Hindraf.

Hindraf was accused of having overseas links and plots to overthrow the government but again no one spoke up for them. When Hindraf’s Orange T-shirts were banned because they threatened national security, or when Hindraf’s supporters’ children were arrested, again no one came to their defence.

When Hindraf organised a demonstration against racism in February, no opposition politician supported them.

When hundreds of Hindraf supporters were arrested and 54 were charged in court, one Hindraf supporter commented: “Not a single word from civil societies. Their silence is deafening.”

Perhaps Pakatan’s arrogance has cost them dearly. Equally, is Hindraf cutting off its nose to spite its face?
We respect Hindraf’s decision to stay away, but this is not Pakatan’s march. This march is also not a misguided attempt to overthrow the government or cause civil unrest.

The July 9 rally is possibly the rakyat’s last chance to make a difference, to set aside political and personal differences and to stand as one against those who make a mockery of democracy and clean elections.

Many of us are angry with politicians, from both sides of the political divide. They make use of us when it suits them. Then they spit us out like orange pips after they have sucked all the juicy orange segments.
What would it take for more Malays to speak up? Liberal-minded Malays can collectively make a difference.

One Hindraf supporter who would be joining the rally said, “Human rights do not belong to the privileged few.”

Perhaps, if the Hindraf movement would not join the rally, then hopefully, individual Hindraf members would participate in their personal capacities.

There is a Tamil saying, “It does not matter whether its Rama or Ravana who reigns as it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

So has Umno-BN already won, if we cannot even join hands in a common cause? It is never too late for Hindraf to join the Bersih rally to show solidarity against Umno-BN.

Now is the time to be magnanimous and to set aside petty squabbles. Hindraf has more to gain but the real champions would be the rakyat.

Mariam Mokhtar is a local political observer. She is an FMT columnist.

MMSP submits war crimes memo to UN

The Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party wants the UN to act on the war crimes in Sri Lanka and Palestine.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP) led three busloads of people today to submit a memorandum to the United Nations, urging the latter to act against the war crimes in Sri Lanka and Palestine.

Party secretary-general R Kannan led the group to hand over the two-page memorandum to Devendre Patel, the head of security at the UN office here.

Kannan said the memorandum contained data collected on the war crimes and genocide against the Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka under the government of President Rajapakse.

The MMPSP leader said independent UN reports revealed shocking evidence of numerous human rights violations there.

“Based on the reports, UN can bring Rajapakse and his government to the international court like what was done to Slobodan Milosevic,” he said.

Kannan said MMSP was also concerned about the recent Gaza blockade against UN humanitarian support missions.

“There is a serious need to support the war victims in Gaza for their health and basic needs including food. But the continuous harassment by Israel only makes the situation worse,” he added.

Don’t practice double standard

Also present were MMSP deputy president Vaneson Micheal, Youth wing chief N Ramu and some 80 party members.

Meanwhile, Kannan also urged the Malaysian government to apply pressure on Sri Lanka with regard to the persecution of Tamils there.

As Sri Lanka’s third-largest investor, he said, Malaysia must act against the nation over the cases of war crimes.

“We talk about Palestine and Bosnia-Herzegovina but sideline Sri Lanka,” he said adding that the government cannot practice double standard.

Heavy police presence failed to thwart pro-Bersih rally

Heavy police presence fails to thwart pro-Bersih rally at PAS state headquarters in Kepala Batas last night.

By Athi Sankar,

KEPALA BATAS: Despite heavy police presence, a Pakatan Rakyat’s pro-Bersih rally went on without a hitch the at PAS state headquarters in Pongsu Seribu, Kepala Batas last night.

About 200 police personnel, including a small Light Strike Force unit, arrived in trucks, jeeps and other vehicles soon after the rally began at 10am.

Many youths among the 2,000 crowd, quickly shut down the entrance gates to the venue and formed a human shield to block any attempts by the law enforcers to barge through.

Seeing the determined crowd, police personnel did not take any drastic action and merely lined up and stood guard outside and the rally went on without any incident for two hours.

Last night’s rally, which was held without a permit, was to substitute a banned rally scheduled to be held in Seberang Jaya expo site.

The police obtained a court on Tuesday to stop two state-sponsored Bersih rallies in Seberang Jaya and Sungai Nibong.

Former state exco Toh Kin Woon, Bukit Tengah assemblyman Ong Chin Wen, state PAS youth wing Mohd Yusin Mat Piah and PKR Batu Kawan division information chief Amizudin Ahmat spoke out in support of the planned Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on July 9.

July 9 will happen

Mohd Yusin said that even the Malaysian football squad had not donned the traditional yellow home colours in pre-World Cup Asian qualifier against Taiwan on Wednesday.

“It’s a shame that the government is so determined to stop a peaceful rally which is meant for free and fair elections, which will only benefit the country.

“But the government instead now being hit by the yellow fever … the yellow phobia,” he said, adding that the government machinery has been fully mobilised to halt the July 9 rally.

However, he said the rally will go ahead as scheduled despite threats of detention and court charges by the executives.

Ong said that the police’s recent action of arresting Bersih activists and seizing yellow coloured items was clearly an intimidation tactic by Umno to instill fear among the people.

Mohd Yusin accused the Barisan Nasional government of employing fear tactics to scare Malaysians from taking part in the rally.

“It exposes the government’s fear and vulnerability to people’s power,” he said to rousing applause.
Toh chided the government for executing underhand tactics to foil a peaceful rally. “Such undemocratic means should be opposed by all,” he said.

Amizuddin, who blogs under the ‘Sharpshooter’ handle, said Umno was worried that the Bersih rally, if it went ahead would trigger another politicall tsunami like in 2008.

‘Hak bukan hak jika perlukan permit’

Peguam hak asasi manusia N Surendran berkata demikian ketika mengkritik Akta Polis.

KUALA LUMPUR: Peguam hak asasi manusia N Surendran mengkritik Akta Polis 1967 yang menjadi batu penghalang kepada hak berhimpun.

“Sesuatu hak bukan hak sekiranya permit diperlukan untuk mengamalkan hak tersebut. Ia lesen,” kata beliau yang juga merupakan antara pengasas pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) Lawyers For Liberty pada bengkel ‘Hak Berhimpun’ anjuran NGO tersebut di Dewan Perhimpunan Cina Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (KLSCAH) di sini malam tadi.

Bengkel ini diadakan untuk menjelaskan perspektif undang-undang berkenaan dengan hak berhimpun berkaitan perhimpunan Bersih dijadualkan akan diadakan pada 9 Julai ini.

Mengulas lebih lanjut perkara tersebut, Surendran yang berpengalaman selama 18 tahun sebagai peguam hak asasi manusia menjelaskan bahawa Seksyen 27(5) Akta Polis yang digunakan pihak berkuasa bagaikan ‘orang kenit’ berbanding dengan Artikel 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

“Sebarang undang-undang yang bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan sebenarnya adalah tidak sah sebagaimana yang termaktub dalam Perkara 4,” kata Surendran di hadapan kira-kira 100 peserta bengkel ‘Hak Berhimpun’.

Perlembagaan Persekutuan dinodai


Beliau turut menjelaskan bagaimana Akta Polis menodai kesucian Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
“Apabila Seksyen 27(5) Akta Polis menekankan keperluan permit, ia tidak mengekang hak berhimpun sebaliknya membatalkan hak tersebut,” kata Surendran.

Surendran yang menggunakan contoh undang-undang England menjelaskan bahawa di negara tersebut pihak polis hanya perlu dimaklumkan berkenaan perhimpunan dan tidak perlu memohon permit.

Beliau turut menjelaskan bahawa halangan terhadap hak berhimpun yang diwujudkan dalam Perkara 10 (2)(b) Perlembagaan Persekutuan hanyalah untuk perkara-perkara melibatkan keselamatan negara.
Surendran yang juga merupakan Naib Presiden PKR membuktikan perhimpunan umum adalah perlu untuk menjana perubahan.

Beliau menggunakan contoh rapat umum Umno pada 1946 untuk menentang Malayan Union dan juga rapat umum anjuran pemimpin berhaluan kiri seperti Ahmad Boestamam.

“Sekiranya Hishammuddin Hussein menjadi menteri dalam negeri pada ketika itu, adakah beliau akan memenjarakan datuknya sendiri, Datuk Onn Jaafar yang berdemonstrasi ketika itu?,” soal Surendran secara sinis berikutan amaran Hishammuddin melarang rakyat menyertai perhimpunan Bersih.

Pas ceramah draws large crowd

A Pas ceramah near Kepala Batas last night drew a large crowd even though it was organised at the last minute. 
 
As the open-air event within the premises of the Pongsu Seribu Pas markas continued, the crowd swelled to 3500.

Speakers included LLG Cultural and Development Centre chief Toh Kin Woon, Bukit Tengah Adun Ong Chin Wen of PKR and Penang Pas Youth chief Mohd Yusni Mat Piah.

About 40 minutes into the event a hundred police personnel including a Light Strike Force unit turned up and took up positions outside the perimeter of the premises.

At one point, while Kin Woon was speaking it appeared as if the police were about to enter. But after discussions with Pas representatives, they remained outside.

While the ceramah was taking place, a helicopter with search lights buzzed over Penang Island.
The event ended without incident at around midnight.