KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9, 2015:

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) says the investigation against the 15-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl respectively under the Peaceful Assembly Act is clearly selective and in bad faith.

This is because the Bersih 4 rally ended peacefully with hundreds of thousands of Malaysians in attendance, including many children.

“What possible reason could the police provide for both these children being singled out other than their parents’ background and political leaning?

“We would like to remind the authorities of their responsibilities under the Child Act 2001 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect and assist children without any discrimination and that the welfare and best interests of children should be the authorities’ first and foremost concern,” LFL’s executive director Eric Paulsen said in a statement today.

He was commenting on Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali’s 15-year-old son Basheer Azmin, who had been summoned by the police pursuant to Section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code in connection with the recent Bersih rally.

Paulsen said he was shocked and appalled at the police for targeting children and grassroots activists Nashita Md Noor and Bad Latif Mansor for attending the Bersih 4 rally in August.

He cautioned that by investigating these children for merely exercising their right to peaceful assembly, it would be clearly misconceived and unfortunately lend further credence that the police force remained highly politicised and selective when it came to political offences.

LFL called on the police to go back to basics – to be a professional, impartial and competent police force in maintaining law and order, preventing and detecting real crimes and apprehending real criminals rather than be concerned with political offences involving the government’s political adversaries or their children.

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