Selasa, 17 September 2013

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Chased out of restaurant, but Muslims, Christians pull off landmark Malaysia Day dialogue

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 10:42 AM PDT

The dialogue was organised by Tasik Gelugor Pas information chief Abdul Rahman Kasim and Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa of Pas and Reverend John Kennedy representing the St Mark's Church.

But a police report was lodged in Penang Island on Saturday by someone from a small group said to be representing 'Muka Buku' which also staged a little protest there. Another police report was believed to have been lodged in Butterworth on Sunday, along with a similar small protest.

When Rev John Kennedy heard of these protests, he and his church felt it best to switch to an alternative venue to avoid any unpleasant scenes at the church – a decision the police were believed to have been pleased with. (Incidentally, it was John who had received a threatening note in his mailbox some time ago, warning of a possible bible-burning fiesta at the Butterworth padang, not far away from the church – an event that failed to materialise.)

The new venue for the event, scheduled for 9.00pm to 11.00pm, was Saravanan Restaurant along Jalan Kampung Benggali, just a short distance from the Butterworth Police Station. Arrangements were made for a dinner and discussion for about 30 participants. When he heard about the new venue, Mujahid was not happy: he had been looking forward to having the dialogue at the church.

Outside the restaurant, the police presence was building up, with a mobile police van parked in a side lane opposite the restaurant. Journalists and plainclothes began milling on the road outside the restaurant and they began entering the function room on the first floor of the restaurant. About 30 members of the church were in attendance along with 20 journalists and plainclothes police. Meanwhile, about 10 Muslims believed to be the group that was unhappy with the event also turned up.

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Malaysia: End Political Persecution of Anwar

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 10:21 AM PDT

The Malaysian government should urgently abolish its colonial–era criminal code prohibition against "sodomy" and thus ensure that no such discriminatory prosecutions occur in the future.

"Malaysian authorities are only adding insult to injury by appealing Anwar's acquittal, compounding the injustice already inflicted on Anwar and his family," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. "The best way to ensure this kind of politically motivated persecution doesn't happen again is for the government to abolish the hateful law on which it's based."

In his decision acquitting Anwar, High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah ruled that the DNA evidence presented by the prosecution in the case had not been handled properly and could have been tampered with. The judge ruled that in the absence of evidence that could corroborate Saiful's version of events, a guilty verdict was not possible.

Although the trial ended in acquittal, the case was marred by procedural problems that raised serious fair trial concerns. During the trial, the prosecution refused to share a number of critically important documents with the defense counsel including lists of witnesses to be called at court, surveillance tapes at the condominium where the alleged offense took place, and most crucially, access to DNA samples and original medical reports.

Government leaders regularly made public comments on the trial and the prosecution made obvious procedural breaches, such as leaking information from an on camera fact-finding visit by the court.

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