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In Uncategorized on July 19, 2011 at 6:12 am

Cops to probe alleged brutality in Bersih rally

July 18, 2011

A police officer prepares to arrest a woman incapacitated earlier by tear gas, in Kuala Lumpur, July 9, 2011. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Six teams will be set up to probe alleged incidents of brutality and violence by the authorities during the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar has said. He also appealed to the public to submit video footage captured during the march as evidence that police used excessive force in dispersing protesters.
“We will investigate transparently, in detail, and the police will not hide any facts,” Khalid said after opening an anti-car theft workshop in Genting Highlands.
Police have already formed three teams to investigate the death of protester Baharuddin Ahmad, whom authorities said died of a heart attack, and claims that police fired tear gas and water cannon into Tung Shin Hospital that day.
One team will investigate Baharuddin’s death, another will look into Tung Shin doctors’ claims that police fired into the hospital compound while the third will probe the incident itself, which has been denied by the police and the hospital’s management.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has been put on the defensive over the Bersih rally for the past week as the international media from Singapore to the UK criticised the government’s handling of public dissent.
Bersih estimates that 50,000 people showed up for its rally for free and fair elections despite efforts to prevent the gathering from taking place, while police said there were only 6,000.
The protest turned chaotic when police fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of demonstrators, resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests, scores injured and the death of ex-military man Baharuddin, 59.
The government has promised to investigate allegations of police brutality while the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will hold a separate public inquiry into police conduct during the Bersih rally



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