Bersih witness: Cops barred Muslim detainees from praying
KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The police denied Muslims detainees their right to pray after arresting them at Bersih 3.0, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry on the April 28 rally was told today.
Suhaimi Suratman, the second witness in today’s hearing, said he and other fellow Muslims were denied permission to pray while being held by the police at the Royal Selangor Club.
According to him, a police officer shouted at the detainees to say, “If you want to pray, go to the mosque. This is not the mosque.”
Suhaimi also related another incident at the detention area where a PAS Unit Amal member in the movement’s signature maroon was beaten by two traffic policemen.
He added that a female medical officer was also prevented from using the toilet while she had been detained.
Suhaimi also asserted that police had verbally abused and provoked the detainees.
“A policeman dared me to fight back and used profanities on me and the others detained,” Suhaimi said.
He sustained a broken nose during the chaos but was denied any medical help while in detention, he told the panel.
Suhakam today also recalled a witness from the July 5 hearing, who presented several photographs as evidence to support his earlier testimony.
Malaysian Red Crescent Society of Malaysia volunteer Khairul Anwar Pawanchik, 60, from Kuala Lumpur had previously testified that he saw a Chinese man being injured by the concertina wire barricades that had been erected around Dataran Merdeka.
“The wire was the most dangerous kind that exists. This is from my experience as a former army officer,” he said in his previous testimonial.
He also described a group of about 20 policemen on motorcycles trying to stop the crowd from entering the historic square.
“One of the policemen was standing while riding with one hand on the handle while another hand was holding a pistol,” he added.
“The policemen were supposed to stop the crowd from moving into Merdeka Square and not try and terrorise the crowd,” he said.
“The pictures are foolproof evidence of my testimony that a policeman brandished a pistol while riding his motorcycle. I also submitted a picture of the barbed wire the police had used as a barricade during the Bersih 3.0 rally,” said Khairul.
The inquiry is aimed at determining whether any violations of human rights were committed against any person or party during and after the tumultuous rally for free and fair elections on April 28.
The inquiry panel led by Suhakam vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee and aided by commissioners Professor Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid and Detta Samen will be interviewing some 22 witnesses over a period of 22 days.
The inquiry continues on July 23.