Thursday, 8 November 2012

100 hold candlelight vigil for detainee Ahmad

About 100 supporters of detainee Ahmad Abdul Jalil, including members of his family, gathered for a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka last night calling for his release.

They included his parents, five of his nine siblings and several cousins, who joined the crowd in holding up candles and ‘Free Ahmad Now’ posters as the earlier heavy rain let up.

NONEThe vigil, led by Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (right), started at about 9pm, with about 10 police officers watching close by but not interfering.

“He has not been given the right to defend himself. He has not been given the right to see his lawyers. He has not been given his right to see his family.

“We don’t know what his happening to him. We are very worried for his safety, and right now we are here to demand the release of Ahmad,” she said before handing over the hailer to Ahmad’s family members.

Ahmad was detained in Kuala Lumpur on Friday last week under the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly insulting the sultan of Johor and taken to Johor Baru.

He was later released without charge, only to be slapped with a new one under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. His remand is supposed to expire today.

NONEWhen met after the hour-long vigil, Ahmad’s twin brother Ali (left) said he is closest to Ahmad, and expressed disbelief that he could have insulted the sultan.

The family has not been informed on what Ahmad had said or written that triggered the probe.

“Ahmad doesn’t know (the reason); we don’t know; even the police said they don’t know. They (the police) said, ‘Sedition Act, for insulting the sultan of Johor. Anything else, refer to superiors, and superiors, and superiors...’

“So we have been arguing, who is the superior and why a superior? What did he do wrong? In our family, Ahmad is the best behaved. Between him and me, he is better,” he said.

Ali also said that Ahmad’s routine was merely to come home from work, pray, eat, and sleep, and he could not have been involved in anything sinister.

‘Not involved in underground movements’

"That’s (routine is) all. He is not involved in any underground movements. It is just that he is alert to political affairs like me.

"(For example) we compared the monarchies of UK and Japan and the economic systems of the capitalist US and the communists,” said Ali while sporting a yellow Bersih T-shirt, with a photo of him and Ahmad dangling from his neck.

NONEMeanwhile, Ahmad’s father Abdul Jalil Abdul Rahman (left) also maintained that his son is innocent, but if he had indeed done wrong, it is only out of ignorance and he should regret it and apologise.

“Our family come from Penang. We do not live under a monarchy. Perhaps my children lacked that sensitivity,” he said, while adding that he is still waiting to see what his son had done and expressed disbelief at the allegations.

Earlier when addressing the crowd, Abdul Jalil also said that he does not blame the police for his son’s predicament because “that is the system that we have,” and urged the crowd to change it by voting for Pakatan Rakyat.

NONEOthers making speeches in support of Ahmad included civil society leaders such as Suaram executive director E Nalini, Centre for Independent Journalism executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah, Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia chairperson Safwan Anang, and political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar.

Also spotted amongst the crowd speaking to Ahmad’s family was Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong.

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