Aug 18, 2000

Police to probe alleged assault
Celine Tan

4pm, FRI: The police is conducting an investigation into the alleged assault
on Keadilan vice-president Tian Chua while in police custody and will
consider requests by two human rights groups that the findings be made

Inspector-General of Police Norian Mai gave his assurance that the demands
forwarded by Suaram and Hakam will be looked into at a meeting with
representatives from the organisations this morning.

Hakam secretary-general Elizabeth Wong told malaysiakini that Suaram and
Hakam submitted a four-point memorandum to the police, demanding that Bukit
Aman conduct an investigation into Chua's alleged assault; that the findings
be made public; that the officers found to be involved in the assault be
suspended pending a criminal charge against them; and that the police
apologise to Chua.

Wong said the two organisations wanted Bukit Aman to investigate the case as
they felt it would be more effective if officers of a higher rank conduct
the investigation.

"The police said they were investigating but we want people with more
authority to investigate," said Wong.

Wong and Suaram coordinator S Arutchelvan attended the meeting which started
at 10am and lasted 40 minutes. Also present were SAC Musa Hassan from Bukit
Aman and ACP Mat Zain from the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

Chua was allegedly beaten, punched and kicked by police officers while being
detained following a gathering near the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Aug 8,
the day of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial verdict
(Tian Chua beaten up in lock-up, Aug 9).

A medical report issued by Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia revealed
that Chua had fractured two of his lumbar vertebrae as a result of a severe
kick which left boot marks below his left kidney.

Wong said the IGP did not confirm or deny the assault on Chua but suggested
that Chua could have been injured in other ways, such as when he was carried
away from the demonstration area by police officers.

"But our position is that there is no way a person could fracture his
vertebrae in this manner," said Wong, adding that the human rights groups
have submitted to the police a name list of police officers whom Chua
identified as being involved and the point at which they were involved in
the alleged assault.

The IGP had agreed to meet with the two organisations to obtain more
information on the alleged attack on Chua (IGP to meet rights groups over
assault on Chua, Aug 14).

Wong said today's meeting was a positive development as it showed that the
police is concerned about the alleged assault, adding that it is rare that
the police would arrange a meeting with non-governmental organisations on
such issues.

"It is a good sign that perhaps some justice will be meted out to Tian Chua
and other people who are victims of abuse," she said.

Wong and Arutchelvan also raised the issue of freedom of assembly at the
meeting and asked that the police cooperate with people who want to attend
peaceful demonstrations.

"The IGP told us that they (the police) give out hundreds of permits a day
but not to people who want to gather in public areas, including the National
Mosque," said Wong. "Our position is that people should be able to gather
wherever they wish.

"However, it was an open-ended discussion and we did not come to any
conclusions," she added.