Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nathaniel Tan Held

PKR's (People's Justice Party) information secretary, Nathaniel Tan, a guy that I've met in the BUM conference back in May was detained by three police officers yesterday.

Graphic courtesy and thanks to Mob’s Crib

Yesterday, evening at my terminal, I heard a very loud police siren outside the office. The police had taken him out of Phileo Damansara I, as my office is at Phileo Damansara II.

The one most important question about the detention is that the police officers that approached Nathaniel were plain-clothes officers. But the did not use the standard rules of engagement for the right of detention: show their ID cards and issue a warrant of arrest or specifying the reasons of being arrested.

Earlier, the police had raided his house and confiscated his desktop computer. Information released to the public later revealed that the police charged him under the 1972 Official Secrets Act -an act that is commonly applied in the Malaysian Examination Syndicate.

Whereabouts of Nat was not revealed after 4.45 p.m, the time he was taken out of the office. The allegation is that he had written defamatory articles on the Internet. At 10 p.m., it was said that he was held in the Bukit Aman lockup, but later at 11.30, it was at Campbell Street police station.

Charges are contradictory. Cyber-crimes division reveals that he is charged under OSA, while Campbell Street station said he was charged under Penal Code 402. The identity of the officer in charge keeps contradicting. One moment was DSP Victor but another was ACP Mohd Kamaruddin.

At midnight, Foundation chairman Anwar Ibrahim - the one and only- made a statement against the arrest:

Statement on the detention of
secretary to the President of the Foundation for the Future

July 13, 2007
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Today, Nathaniel Tan, who is my secretary as Chairman of the Foundation for the Future, was detained by three plain-clothes individuals. The officers did not identify themselves or their designation but merely mentioned that they were part of the Special Branch and requested Nathaniel to follow them and bring along his laptop.

I strongly condemn the detention of Nathaniel by the Malaysian police. Nathaniel, 27, a graduate of Harvard and resident of Kuala Lumpur, has been actively involved in humanitarian and volunteer efforts in Aceh, Indonesia and Sierra Leone as well as with human rights groups in Malaysia.

I want the Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to take this matter to his immediate attention and confirm where and on what grounds is Nathaniel being detained. I request that his lawyers and family members obtain immediate access to Nathaniel to ensure his well-being and safety.

Foundation for the Future

A few questions about the arrest:

  1. 1. Where is the proof that forms the grounds that he was arrested?
  2. 2. The police officers that were part of the raid /arrest did not follow the proper rules of engagement. According to the Bar Council's guide book, a police officer intending on arresting the person must declare his identity by showing the badge at the suspect, showing him the warrant of arrest. The detainee has the right to know who is the person in charge and so on, before proceeding.
  3. 3. Is this deliberately part of some cell of the government that is attempting to clamp down on the opposition alliance in part of its preparatory things for the upcoming snap elections?
  4. 4. The guy was held and things are kept under wraps -no comments released.
  5. 5. Are we likely to see another Rahim Noor vs Anwar Ibrahim (previously in 1998) punching match?
Quoting from Noam Chomsky, this antics demonstrates of actions by some right-wingers and part of the attempt to spread doubts, fear and mixed reactions not only that, it might be used to fuel religious tensions. Fueling fire with petrol

But who is indeed the mastermind behind this?

All of the international humanitarian groups were alerted to this arrest.

If you have no proof, just let the bloke go, no matter how hateful you might be against him or not. Submission and totalitarianism? I think so.

Update 1

Deputy IGP Mohd. Najib Aziz confirmed that Nat is remanded for four days under the Section 8 of the OSA act. The main reason behind the arrest is that he was under suspicion that he carries sensitive documents that links Joe Baharom to corruption. Allegations of Joe were dropped by the Anti-Corruption Agency at the orders of A.G Abdul Gani Patail after it was confirmed that they had no proof or links to say that Joe was connected to the underworld.

Update 2:

Joe: Trace Writers Spreading Lies on Websites.

The witch-hunt is on.

After Nat's arrest, Joe Baharom has ordered the CID and the Cyber-Crimes Division to initiate investigations against writers that could spread lies against the country and bring them to the book.

Top blogger Rocky reported this issue.

This clearly implies that non-active social / political bloggers could be under the witch-hunt as well. This also means that we bloggers had to do whatever we can to stand up against this potential problem that is going to hit us to the sink.

I agree with Rocky's assessment. The manner in which Nat was taken - no proof, incorrect rules of engagement clearly implies that this would be the way that non-social political bloggers could be faced with this kind of impromptu engagement.

Here's the thing: The news might end up coming that late were it not for blogs. See my two part "Were It Not For Blogs" entries. There are clear occasions that media is indirectly indebted to the efforts of top bloggers who reported incidents with solid proof. Jeff has tons of evidence showing of the SMS spamming case. RPK has tons of evidences - solid proof - detailed in The Corridors of Power series.

If that is the case, bloggers will have hang on to each other for support if one gets accused.

What if they insisted that the actual truth is a lie? Are seeing another Umbridge thing?

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