The fight to free the PSM EO6, part 4

In June/July 2011, in anticipation of the Bersih 2 rally, the police under the direction of the UMNO-BN government detained 6 PSM leaders under the Emergency Ordinance (EO). For this 10-year-anniversary of this detention, Thinkleft will run a series of articles documenting the struggle to free the six from unlawful detention.

Click here to read part 1 of this series
Click here to read part 2 of this series
Click here to read part 3 of this series
Click here to read statements of support and solidarity for the EO6 from local and international organizations

On 29th June 2011, the battleground moved to the court. Our revision in the court failed. The judge maintained that the 7 days remand period was justified. It was expected but still some family members cried because of the outcome. We maintained to all that they should be prepared for a full 14 days remand. We said, let’s hope for the best but expect the worst.

At the court, the Judge Zamawi Abdul Rahman implied that the safety of his children and grandchildren were paramount when he decided to maintain the decision to allow the 7 days detention. This was in total disregard on the question of justice. We used the courtroom arena, to further ridicule BN and its Communist bogey story. We carried the portrait of Tun Abdul Razak with Mao Zedong shaking hands –a winning formula used by BN to woo Chinese votes in the early seventies. We carried photos of Fidel Castro and Dr Mahathir as well a photos of Najib with Wang Zhaoguo and Hu Jintao, leaders of the Chinese Communist party.We tried to make a mockery of the government propaganda and no matter which angle they took their photos, they could not escape these snapshots.

We also lodged reports of mistreatment of detainees and this had its impact when the 30 families were allowed visits. Also SUHAKAM was allowed access. It was then that we heard of how the detainees were interrogated by different teams from Penang as well as from KL. We had to expose all these and we later came to find out that our actions did actually result in prison conditions being improved at these detention centres.

On the same day we released a document – What is PKM (Parti Komunis Malaya)? What is PSM? – We explained communism and socialism in a simple way to propagate our positions and to put things in perspective. At this point of time, though we have been attacked by the mainstream press and received court decisions that were not in our favor…yet we managed to counter the government propaganda by the day.

Our task was made difficult as detainees were kept in four locations – in IPK Penang, Kepala Batas IPD, Butterworth and Sungai Dua lockups. Besides that we also had to handle the two foreigners being detained in KLIA lock-ups. We had to move activists to all these locations and be vigilant all the time. It was a tough period but at all times, we continued to get support, solidarity and resources. It kept us going.

On 1 July, Korean Intern Song Min Young was deported without any conditions. It further strengthened our stand that there was no foreign threat and this was a drama put on by the police and drummed by Utusan and Perkasa. So the call to release Romy Castillo intensified with PSM comrades working hand in hand with comrades in the Philippines calling for the release. There were also several protests in Philippines calling for Romy’s release while here our lawyers and activists were doing the same.

To be continued…

S. Arutchelvan
Deputy Chairperson
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

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