Two Women Activists Probed over Last Year’s ‘Bebas Maria’ Walk

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Ivy Josiah and Ho Yock Lin were questioned by police yesterday in connection with the ‘Free Maria’ walk which took place nine months ago.

Lawyer Honey Tan, who together with four other lawyers – Matt Wong, Firdaus Husni, Vivian Kuan and Rajsurian Pillai – had accompanied the duo during the questioning, said the police did not say what they were being investigated for, FMT reported.

Tan was speaking to reporters outside the Dang Wangi police headquarters where a group of some 30 people comprising NGO representatives and activists, including Marina Mahathir and Ambiga Sreenevasan, had gathered since 2pm.

“They asked us around 18 questions related to the walk. We maintained that we were just exercising our freedom of speech and assembly according to the Federal Constitution,” women’s rights activist Josiah told Malay Mail Online.

“After nine months, they come after us now. Really, it is harassment. It’s unnecessary, and it’s time-consuming,” Josiah said, describing the ordeal as “annoying”.

All Women’s Action Society’s (Awam) former president Ho Yock Lin said the police had done a professional job of questioning them but agreed with Josiah that it was “harassment” from a higher authority.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah echoed similar sentiments, saying that the questioning was “pure intimidation and harassment”, adding that there had been “bigger offenders” let loose.

On Nov 18 last year, a day before the Bersih 5 rally, Maria was detained and held in solitary confinement for 10 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.

On Nov 23, more than 500 women marched from Padang Merbok to the Parliament building, demanding her release from jail.

Maria was freed on Nov 28.