Thursday 31 May 2012

Anti-Taib radio presenter taken away by three men

Radio Free Sarawak's Peter John Jaban was today taken away by three unidentified men in Miri, soon after the anti-Taib radio station presenter flew into the northern Sarawak town.

However, his lawyer Alan Ling said Miri police have denied taking away the presenter with the London-based radio station that has been highly critical of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud's administration.

NONELing, who is also DAP's Piasau assemblyperson, told Malaysiakini that the three men took Jaban (left) away  in a Proton car.

Jaban was with Miri PKR chairperson Dr Michael Teo and on the way to Teo's clinic in the town centre after arriving at Miri airport at about 10.30am.

The men in the Proton car stopped Teo and Jaban as they were on their way to town.

“As I understand it, no force was used... that the men whispered something to Jaban and he left with them. We still don't know who the men are or Jaban's location,” Ling said.

He said Jaban has not contacted anyone since then, including Radio Free Sarawak, to inform them of his whereabouts.

Both Ling and Teo had waited for Jaban at the airport from about 10am, after they received information from PKR's Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How that the presenter was supposed to be arrested there.

“I was told that Jaban was detained in Kota Kinabalu and was sent to Miri to be arrested. I spoke to Miri Criminal Investigation Department (CID) deputy chief ASP Ooi Jin Bing, who told me there was no instruction to detain Jaban.

“So I informed Ooi that we will be picking Jaban up from the airport, and gave a guarantee that we will escort him to the central police station with legal representation, if the police wanted him,” he said.

He added that Ooi, too, was surprised when told about what happened on the way back from the airport and insisted that the three men were not police personnel.

Ling added that Ooi said that he had also checked with the Special Branch who confirmed that there are no instructions for an arrest, even from their side.

Jaban's son also in the dark

Jaban's son Valentino Ngabong Peter earlier told Malaysiakini that his father had been detained by the immigration authorities at the Kota Kinabalu airport at 9.30am.

Contacted later, Valentino said his father had not contacted him since leaving for Miri.

NONEIn a press statement early this morning, Radio Free Sarawak said Jaban had been "detained, photographed and had his documents photocopied, before being escorted onto the flight" to Miri to be arrested.

“To say we are worried is an understatement” Radio Free Sarawak founder Clare Rewcastle Brown said in a statement on the latest development.

“Our immediate concern is that (Jaban) is not hurt.”

The presenter, who goes by the moniker Papa Orang Utan, was in Sabah for a diving course, and  returned to Sarawak to spend time with his family for the Gawai festival.

Jaban had last year complained that his family in Sarawak was being harassed by authorities, believed to be as a result of to his work with Radio Free Sarawak.

The station, which features interviews with local activists and opposition politicians, broadcasts on shortwave and is widely followed in the interiors of Sarawak.

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