Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nat Tan 2nd Candlelight Vigil Chronicles

Malaysiakini informed of a 2nd Candlelight Vigil at IPD Dang Wangi on 8.30 p.m. 17 July 2007. I missed the 1st. People came even though it rained in the beginning.


For those not in the know, Nat's 4-days remand ended yesterday. Today would be the day, which the police have to decide a request for a remand extension from the court or release Nat. Perhaps that explains the numbers of prominent socio-political groups and people present.

As Nat is a PKR staff, Tian Chua started the ball rolling by giving his speech. Expectedly, PKR condemned the arrest and on the use of OSA in ambiguity to arrest a blogger. OSA has become a tool for certain parties to stamp free discussion.

Tian Chua's speech was interrupted when a car parked by the side of the road with Anwar Ibrahim coming out from it.

Anwar Ibrahim, who currently acts as the chief of PKR and the President of Foundation for the Future came and made a speech. He said such an arrest is downright unreasonable. It merely serves as a form of intimidation to bright young men concerned about the well-being of Malaysia from speaking up in the blogsphere. Certain Foundation for the Future documents were not spared from being confiscated for investigation. He further called on the government to put their concentration on more pressing issues such as graft claims on IGP Musa Hassan and corruption cases instead.

Foundation for the Future link: http://www.futurefoundation.org/

The Chiefs of Wanita and Angkatan Muda Keadilan echoed similar statements in their speech.

DAP rep, Ronnie Liu equaled the action of the police as "Arrest First, Investigate Later". The party represented by Lim Guan Eng would table for the unconditional release of Nat in the parliament (11.30 a.m., 17th July 2007, Tuesday). DAP stands against this wrongful arrest method.

NGOs and Common Folks

A representative from SUARAM mentioned that several international organisations have been informed on this matter. These organisations and several of Nat's friends in Oxford have started campaigns. Furthermore, should the court extend the remand, SUARAM will lodge a report to SUHAKAM on the violation of human rights.

Nat was "missing" for 6 hours. Initially, he was invited by the police for "some talk about internet". His parents and lawyers were not properly informed by officials when he was brought to court.

For more information refer to http://www.suaram.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=518&Itemid=29

Syed Shahir of MTUC gave a speech in support of Nat's release. From a journalistic perspective, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) representative found it ridiculous to arrest a blogger for a comment from another visitor.

MTUC link on an unrelated issue: http://www.mtuc.org.my/psforeignworker8feb05.htm
Syed Shahir's blog: http://syedshahir.blogsome.com/
CIJ link: http://www.cijmalaysia.org/display_story.asp?ID=520

Nat's parents was there. His father thanked those who came. They met Nat in Bukit Aman and Nat is still doing well. DAP Tony Pua told the public that a forum will be held on this matter. Nik Azmi, a colleague of Nat's highlighted the multi-racial crowd that came in support of Nat's release. This is a positive development considering the fact that Malaysians are able to put aside their differences and share the common goal of striving for fairness and freedom of speech. Nik noted that the Malaysian government should be thankful to Nat for coming back to this beloved country. With such qualifications (Nat is Harvard graduate), Nat could have seek for greener pastures overseas.

Songs in solidarity

In solidarity, participants led by Suaram rep and a man by the name of Aloysius sang a few songs for Nat. Petitions were signed. The vigil ended at about 10.00 p.m. with participants leaving the place peacefully.

Jeff Ooi has another scope of the story:

Ambiguous Basis of Arrest

To date, there is yet to be a statement from the police that Nat possesed an OSA document despite arresting him for a link posted on his blog. The link, which leads to an anonymous website that implicates Datuk Johari Baharum as a corrupted minister, was used as a basis for OSA probe.

However, Nat had exclusively removed the statements of this commentator in his website. The police had listed under this a cyber crime. However, it is ambiguous as to what extent a link should be considered as a cyber crime. For example, should we label a website such as google as a violator of cyber crimes?

Take a look at the links of the search results:

All the links point to the website that contains the negative implications on Dato' Johari. If that is a cyber crime perhaps the police should arrest google or any other websites such as http://www.hotbot.com/ , http://www.altavista.com/ and http://www.yahoo.com/ which will more or less display the same links. Furthermore there are layers and layers of websites within the aforementioned websites that contain directions to the so-called Dato' Johari "corrupted minister" sites.

If it is justifiable to arrest Nat, why didn't the police arrest the owners of these layers and layers of websites for OSA probe? Why is there a double standard? Would I be considered a cyber criminal suspect by making a link to the website search results as the above? Again, such a question is not addressed properly in the cyber crimes law.

If the answer to my question is yes, it would certainly be laughable by internet standards. The government might as well ban the internet and take one step back in development. Internet is an exponential network. It is impossible to drill down the near infinite layers of websites in the internet.

It is unclear on why the police would arrest Nat instead of the creator of the website implicating on Dato' Johari. It is certainly strange.


1 comment:

mob1900 said...

One of the most comprehensive coverage on monday's vigil, thank you for you compassion and concern for blogger KokoNat!