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Police had seized all mobile phones belonging to seven activists affiliated with Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) in another round of questioning for sedition over the cancelled second #Lawan protest.
The group together with their lawyers entered Dang Wangi district police station around 10.15am and exited over an hour later to cheers from supporters who gathered in solidarity.
Speaking to reporters, SSR member Mohamad Abdullah Alshatry, who was among those investigated, said the group condemned the action of seizing their devices.
“We were questioned for around one hour under the Sedition Act. All our mobile phones were seized.
“At this point, we do not know whether we will be charged or otherwise,” said Mohamad.
“We feel this is an extreme move because we have given our cooperation but they still seized our devices.
“And so we condemn the move,” said Mohamad.
SSR spokesperson Mohammad Asraf Sharafi Mohammad Azhar, who was also questioned, described the ongoing probe as a waste of police resources.
“Investigations against activists who were only carrying out their constitutionally guaranteed duties is a form of ongoing harassment and intimidation to silence the people’s struggle for a more democratic administration.
“Investigations and pressure on the common people were also often harsher and speedier than on ministers or government politicians,” said Asraf.
SSR had announced it was planning a protest on Aug 21 following the first protest in July demanding the resignation of then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
They were first summoned for questioning on Aug 13 but the investigations continued even after the protest was called off as Muhyiddin had stepped down on Aug 16.
Dang Wangi district police chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya confirmed with Sinar Harian that the activists were called in regarding their involvement in the cancelled Aug 21 #Lawan rally.
The case is being investigated under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, he said when contacted today.
Aside from Mohamad and Asraf, five others under probe are Qyira Yusri, Tharmalinggam Pillai, Dobby Chew, Sarah Irdina, and Amir Abdul Hadi.
Present in solidarity was CSO Platform for Reform programme coordinator Beverly Joeman, who read out a statement representing some 80 civil society organisations calling for an immediate repeal of the Sedition Act 1948.
“This year alone, between January to August, we have monitored at a minimum, 17 cases involving 37 individuals, human rights defenders and artists being investigated under this archaic and repressive law.
“The coming into power of the previous Perikatan Nasional government in March 2020 saw the continued use of the Sedition Act, amongst other repressive laws, being weaponised to suppress critical debates and dissent in Malaysia,” she said.
Police made no attempts to disperse the small crowd of supporters but issued increasingly loud reminders on social distancing, in a perceived attempt to drown out the speakers.
Many showed up wearing traditional outfits and, at one point, in a symbolic sign of unity, posed with the Jalur Gemilang and various state flags.
They also carried signs protesting the Sedition Act.
Aside from the customary plainclothes police personnel documenting the gathering, a white man dressed in a full suit, believed to be from a foreign embassy, was also seen observing the gathering from afar.
Source: Malaysia Kini