The police arrested the group of seven on Saturday for demonstrations in the EMCO area. – AFP picture
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KOTA KINABALU, April 26 – The seven people arrested for demonstrating in Kampung Muhibbah Raya, Tawau, which is under an Extended Movement Control Ordinance (EMCO), are expected to be released today after their two-day pre-trial detention expires.
Attorney Sherzali Asli said that work is in progress to secure her release after being told that the police have no plans to extend her pre-trial detention or to bring her to court.
“The police did not request an extension of the pre-trial detention. That means they will most likely be released at 5pm today, ”said Sherzali, who is handling the case for the seven under the Sabah Human Rights Center.
It is believed that there will be no legal charges against the seven.
Regarding the allegations that there was violence and mistreatment of one of the detainees during the arrest, Sherzali said they are investigating the allegations and have not yet received a medical report.
“We are going to conduct an information mission. We also instructed our client’s brother to file a police report, which he did, ”said Sherzali.
Sherzali also acts on behalf of the Sabah Law Society’s Public Interest Subcommittee.
Police arrested the group on Saturday for demonstrating in the EMCO area, allegedly because they were dissatisfied with the EMCO expansion, which was disrupting their livelihoods and because they were not getting enough food aid.
The seven are between 26 and 31 years old and include a teacher, five delivery drivers or runners, and an activist. One of the detainees alleged that he was beaten on the shoulder and chest during arrest, which Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali denied.
The seven were arrested and investigated for three offenses under Section 188 of the Criminal Code, Section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act and Section 25 of the Emergency Ordinance 2021 for preventing officials from performing their duties, which is against Covid-19 violated standard preventive operating instructions and maintaining an assembly without approval.