Aliran hails the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision ordering the government to pay RM30,000 to each of the 29 human rights activists and journalists wrongfully detained during the Apcet II conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Rowdy elements from Umno Youth stormed the conference and disrupted a peaceful gathering that sought a settlement for East Timor. The former Deputy Home Minister, Megat Junid Megat Ayob, was implicated in the unbecoming and rambunctious demonstration that shamed the country more than a decade ago on 9 November 1996 .
Appeals Court Judge Wan Adnan Muhamad delivered his decision on 22 December 2009, saying that “the facts here are clear and straightforward and the judgment is based on facts submitted by both parties”.
Aliran has been keeping track of recent court decisions and with this knowledge we must warn the jubilant litigants not to get carried away easily. This is Round 1 and Round 1 usually goes in favour of truth and justice. It is here where the facts are scrutinised diligently and justice has its sway. It is as far as justice can go!
In Round 2 this decision will almost certainly be overturned, as has been the case on many occasions. It is here where facts don’t matter but technicalities will be the overriding factor and justice will be forced to take a back seat.
This glaring outcome is inevitable in our system of justice. We have witnessed this without fail in Anwar’s cases, in the Perak Pakatan government’s tussle for democracy, in the Kampung Buah Pala residents plea for justice and in the MACC case involving Tan Boon Wah’s human rights.
God save our judiciary!
23 December 2009