Cops Urged to Release Activist Arrested over FB Post on Defaced Murals

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Police have arrested Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) Penang coordinator K Sudhagaran Stanley over a post on his personal Facebook page on the defaced murals in Shah Alam, Selangor.

Zainudin Ahad/The Star

Updated: Sudhagaran has been released on police bail.

Sudhagaran was arrested last night at about 10pm at his hometown, Penang, and is now detained at the Timur Laut district police headquarters.

“Apparently, he is now at the Bayan Baru centralised lock-up, his lawyer told us. He is not being brought to Bukit Aman as earlier believed. We are waiting for more information.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“Naturally we are worried for his safety and wellbeing. The police should not be knocking on doors at night and instilling fear among the public but should abide by protocols to seek an appointment for questioning and investigation,” C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel was quoted as saying.

C4 has urged police to release Sudhagaran.

It said police could have issued a notice requesting him to be present at the police station to have his statement recorded instead of arresting him at night.

“While the comments on his Facebook page are entirely his own personal opinion on public interest issues, we remain extremely disturbed at the fast swallowing space to express, opine and disagree with the powers that be of this Perikatan Nasional government,” C4 said in its statement.

C4 said Sudhagaran’s lawyer had informed them that he is being investigated under section 4(1) of the Sedition Act, Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

The group said the heightened police investigations on human rights and anti-corruption advocates for expressing dissent in relation to matters concerning public interest has become a cause of great concern.

“While the government has a right to disagree and object to many such comments, it would place itself in higher stead if it embraces the importance of critical thinking while balancing and safeguarding the right to freedom of expression and promoting a robust civil society,” it said.