Full update on Nat: By CIJ

Posted: July 18, 2007 in Freedom of Speech

Update: Nathaniel Tan released on police bail                         freenat1.png

by CIJ, 18 July 2007
Source : Centre for Independent Journalism

 

Police released blogger and webmaster of an opposition party, Nathaniel Tan, on police bail at 5:20pm on 17 July, after detaining him for 5 days during which the police was subjected to tremendous public pressure.

The Cyber Crime Division arrested Nathaniel for allegation of possesing classified document, an offence under the Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

However, Police did not return his laptop and CPU which they seized on the day they detained him.

The alleged document is a comment posted on his blog, jelas.info, which links to an anonymous website accusing the deputy internal security minister, Johari Baharum of corruption. He was alleged to have accepted bribery in return for the release of detainees under the Emergency Ordinance. The Anti-Corruption Agency, however cleared him of the allegation after investigation.

Police has earlier told Nathaniel’s lawyers that he would be released at noon that day. When contacted, DSP Victor Sanjos, the investigating officer attributed the delay to “technical problem”. He did not elaborate.

Nathaniel’s mother, Sukumari Chitty told CIJ that police treated him well in detention. Nathaniel declined to comment when contacted by CIJ.

News about the detention was widely reported in Chinese dailies , such as Sin Chew, Nanyang, China Press and Oriental, as well as alternative press such as Malaysiakini.com, merdekareview.com and opposition party paper Harakah. It received lukewarm attention in English and Malay dailies.

Nathaniel’s employer, the opposition People Justice’s Party (PKR), both local and international groups protested Nat’s detention strongly. Candle lights vigil was held outside the police station where Nat was held on the third and fourth day of his detention. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) condemns the manner the detention was carried out, in which Nat was whisked away from his office police by three plainclothes policemen and was held incommunicado for six hours. PKR source said the party will file a revision of Nathaniel’s remand on 18 July.

The Centre for Indepedent Journalism maintains that the detention was unnecessary and was an act of intimidation. We call for the police to stop such intimidation and for the government to repeal the OSA, which has now been used as an instrument of intimidation.

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