|Bersih 3.0: Cop oblivious to Article 10|
|Tuesday, 11 September 2012 08:37am|
©The Sun Daily (Used by permission)
by ALYAA ALHADJRI
KUALA LUMPUR: A police officer in charge during the Bersih 3.0 rally admitted he was not aware that the public has a right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Insp Farid Sairi from the Dang Wangi district police station was responding to lawyer Roger Chan from the Bar Council who cited Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which protects a person’s right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Chan, who held a watching brief at the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry into the rally yesterday, has suggested that Farid, as a police officer, should be well versed with the law.
Farid, who during the April 28 rally was in charge of some 100 personnel in an area designated as ‘Sector 3’, replied: “I only know a little bit.”
He also said he was not aware that the public has a right to oppose any government’s policy deemed to be not in their favour.
“As a police officer who is upholding the law, is it an offence for the public to voice resistance against any government policy?” asked Chan, to which Farid replied that he was not sure.
Earlier, responding to ACP Jamaluddin Abdul Rahman who held a watching brief for the police, Farid also admitted that he did not know the real reason behind the day’s rally which was organised by electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0.
“As far as I know, the rally is organised to sit down and protest,” he said, adding that he only acted based on orders given by his superior ASP Ahmad Jais Ujang during a briefing held at about 6am the same day.
Asked by inquiry panel chairperson Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee on specific instructions given during the briefing, Farid said he was told to stand guard and prevent entry into Dataran Merdeka.
In his testimony, Farid said his troop was stationed next to the Royal Selangor Club, from the food court to the church at the end of Jalan Raja.
Despite insisting that no incidents had occurred under his watch from 7am to 9.30pm, Farid noted that there was a “constant increase” in the number of personnel on duty – from 100 in the morning to about 300 at the end of the day. The club and its surrounding areas have been identified as the sites where alleged police brutalities had taken place against arrested protesters who were brought to a holding area before being taken to the Police Training Centre (Polapol) at Jalan Semarak.
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