Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bersih slams Hanif’s ‘weak’ response

K Pragalath

 | July 19, 2012
The electoral watchdog takes the ex-IGP to task for terming the 'brutal' actions of policemen during the April 28 rally as merely 'unprofessional'.
PETALING JAYA: Former Inspector-General of Police Hanif Omar has failed to recognised the extent of police brutality that took place during the Bersih rally, charged the electoral watchdog.
Hanif heads the independent panel tasked with investigating the violence which erupted during the April 28 rally.
“We view the recent statements by Hanif in which he termed the allegations of police brutality as ‘unprofessional’ as a weak response in the face of numerous eyewitness accounts of violence from the authorities during the peaceful assembly,” the Bersih committee said in a statement today.
On Monday, Hanif said certain policemen did not handle the protesters in a professional manner and Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh had to order his officers on the ground to stop them from doing so.
“There were no specific instructions given to them, but we are currently trying to get the police to declare whether they received the three United Nations guidelines on treatment of the media and handling of crowds, among others,” Hanif was quoted as saying.
The Bersih committee said that as a former police chief, Hanif should realise that “the police surely received their instructions from those higher up; thus, the IGP and home minister are also responsible”.
The committee added that the police brutality during the rally suggested “that they acted in vengeance due to orders given to them or because they had lost control”.
It further added that IGP Ismail Omar’s remark that the standard operating procedure for police to handle media personnel would be issued “soon” failed to address the concerns of those who witnessed the perpetuation of violence against media personnel.
The committee also raised a question that remain unanswered since the rally took place.
“Who is responsible for the untold violence on participants of the peaceful assembly that occurred after the first tear gas was fired?” it asked.

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