|Bersih 3.0: Lawyers query lack of police accountability|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2012 08:50am|
©The Sun (Used by permission)
by Alyaa Alhadjri
KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 13, 2012): Lawyers holding a watching brief at the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 rally yesterday questioned the apparent lack of accountability by police on incidents which had allegedly taken place under their watch.
The matter was raised by lawyer Andrew Khoo, representing electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0, during his cross-examination of ACP Ahmad Jais Ujang from the Dang Wangi district police headquarters.
Ahmad Jais told the panel headed by Suhakam vice-chairperson Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee that he was in charge of overseeing a team of some 1,000 general duty police assigned to four sectors in an area designated as Zone Dataran Merdeka.
This includes the area surrounding Royal Selangor Club, identified as Sector 3, where arrested protesters were gathered before being taken by bus to the police training centre (Pulapol) at Jalan Semarak.
"I had gathered all my troops for a short briefing in the morning. I told them we need to guard Dataran Merdeka and prevent any unauthorised individual from entering the area," said Ahmad Jais, adding that his team was not sanctioned to arrest any protesters.
Ahmad Jais, however, agreed to a suggestion by Khaw that his initial orders for the team to retreat behind a line of Federal Reserve Unit officers may have been overruled after the razor-wire barricade leading into the historical square was breached at about 3pm.
"They could have received a higher order or it is also possible that they saw protesters committing other offences for which they could be arrested, not because they were protesting," he said, naming Dang Wangi OCPD ASP Mohamad Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman as the day's "ground commander" with powers to override his initial instructions to the team.
On alleged incidents which took place within Sector 3, including of policemen assaulting arrested protesters, Ahmad Jais said he did not receive any report from his subordinates, because there was no need for them to do so.
"Maybe there were members of my team who had made an arrest, I am not sure
"I received many updates throughout the day via walkie-talkie, but there were no written reports," he said, adding that a police personnel is only required to jot down notes in their personal logbook.
Ahmad Jais said any policemen who made an arrest is required to report directly to the nearest station, and that he was not informed as it is beyond his jurisdiction.
The panel also heard a testimony from Inspector Norazmee Mohamed who was tasked to coordinate some 300 police personnel who formed a human barricade at the corner of Jalan Raja and Jalan Tun Perak.
Norazmee told the panel that he was unsure whether the injured protesters were taken to Dataran Merdeka by the police for processing and detention, or to receive medical treatment for their injuries.
As such, lawyer Roger Chan, who represented the Bar Council, proposed to the panel that both Ahmad Jais and Norazmee's logbook be tendered as evidence, which was agreed to by Khaw.
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