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Authorities must stop harassing Maria Chin Abdullah and other human rights defenders

Joint Action Group For Gender Equality (JAG)
Press Statement, 28 April 2015

Photo credit: Empower Malaysia

For more information: Kristine Yap, kristine.wao@gmail.com / +603 7957 5636

Executive Director of EMPOWER and chair of BERSIH 2.0 Maria Chin Abdullah has been informed that she will be investigated by police today. Police cited her involvement in the #KitaLawan rally–a civil society rally which called upon the release of of jailed Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim–on 28 March 2015 as a reason for the investigation.

In supporting and participating in the #KitaLawan rally, Maria Chin Abdullah, like other activists, was exercising her fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly which are enshrined in Article 10 of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.

While it is still unknown whether she will be charged, and if so under what law, it is clear that this investigation is part of the recent slate of attacks against opposition politicians, lawyers, civil society members, and and even academics and a cartoonist. Since the beginning of 2014, the draconian Sedition Act has been used to investigate or charge more than a hundred Malaysians. The Penal Code has also been misused to harass activists.

The Joint Action Group For Gender Equality (JAG) demand authorities stop the continued intimidation and harassment of Maria Chin Abdullah and other human rights defenders. We call on Prime Minister Najib Razak to uphold his initial promise to repeal the Sedition Act, and to walk the talk on supporting human rights in Malaysia.

We refuse to cower to intimidation tactics used to stifle our voice. We stand with Maria Chin Abdullah.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO)
Sisters in Islam
Tenaganita
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang

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