On the night of 7 May 2009, five members of the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre, Fadiah Nadwa binti Fikri (Secretary), Murnie Hidayah binti Anuar, Puspawati binti Rosman, Ravinder Singh Dhalliwal (Chairperson) and Syuhaini binti Safwan (collectively known as the “LAC Lawyers”), in their capacity as Advocates & Solicitors, had requested the police at the Brickfields Police Station for access to the detained persons who were arrested that same night whilst holding a candlelight vigil at the same Police Station over the recent arrest of political scientist Wong Chin Huat.
The Police denied the LAC Lawyers access to the detained persons. Instead, the Police, without any reasonable grounds, proceeded to arrest the LAC Lawyers and only released them on police bail the following day at around 3 p.m., notwithstanding repeated requests by other lawyers for their immediate release.
The rights of detained persons to have access to counsel of his/her choice is provided for in Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution and sub-sections 28A(2) to (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC”).
Today, the West Malaysian Bar Council is holding an EGM to consider a motion proposed by its President to condemn the arrests of lawyers who were only carrying out their duties in accordance with the law. I was asked to draft a press statement to be issued by the Advocates Association of Sarawak in support of the Bar Council's stance. I trust that the press statement will appear in the newspapers tomorrow.