Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sarawak activist turns up in court, no sign of police

Native rights activist Abun Sui Anyit, who was detained by police early last month for carrying 'seditious' CDs and VCDs, turned up at the Miri court complex yesterday morning to answer the sedition charges levelled against him.

He waited for more than an hour, but the police or those responsible for prosecuting the case did not turn up.

NONEThe Miri-based lawyer, flanked by 120 indigenous supporters, was told by court officers that his case was not listed in the court registry for hearing today.

Abun (left) later found out from the police that they had made a mistake in ordering him to appear in court today when releasing him on police bail.

The police investigating officer, who was away in Kuching, told him the matter was still under investigation.

However, Abun did not blame the police for the mistake, saying they were only following orders.

"We should question those who are in power on the abuse of their authority in order to intimidate people who are just asserting their rights and exposing the truth about their problems," he said.

Abun, a PKR member, was arrested at Miri Airport on the evening of Jan 6, soon after arriving from Kuching.

Police seized a few copies of CDs and VCDs from him. He was detained and questioned and only released at 3am the next day.

Police also arrested three other native rights activists in Kuching the same day.

The CDs and VCDs contained video and audio recordings from Radio Free Sarawak, TV Sarawak Bebas and other political materials.

NONEAbun was informed that he was being investigated under section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and was told to report back to the police in one month. He believes the arrests were politically motivated.

The Sarawak state election must be held before July this year and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat is mounting the most serious challenge yet to long-time Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib is facing mounting calls to quit after an anonymous website, Sarawak Report, exposed incidents of corrupt practices on a massive scale.

The absence of electricity in much opf rural Sarawak being the basis for the lack of information, whether via radio, television or the Internet, has led native rights activists to produce and distribute CDs and VCDs to raise the political awareness of rural communities.

TV Sarawak Bebas is a DVD-based media targeting Sarawak's vast rural communities.

It has recorded several stories from the rural communities on their their abject living conditions and their fight to defend their land rights.

Radio Free Sarawak is an independent station that started its daily broadcast on Nov 16 last year and sources its news from Sarawak Report as well as from Sarawak activists and communities defending land rights and against abuses by the Sarawak BN government led by Taib.

Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, who is widely known as RPK, is a regular commentator on the radio programme.

Taken from Malaysiakini.

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