Thursday, August 21, 2008

Permatang Pauh : Why Arrest Those Who Help?

Source : Malaysiakini

Batu PKR division has defended its deputy chief Mohd Noor Kamil Abd Samad who was arrested in connection with the assault of two photographers during the Permatang Pauh by-election nomination process.


pkr batu 210808 rozan azen mat sarip"In fact, the photographs of the incident shows that Noor Kamil had compromised his own safety in order to protect the photographers," said the division’s Youth chief Rozan Azen Mat Rasip.

Speaking at a press conference at the Batu PKR headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, he also introduced several witnesses.

Party member S Thavamany said the incident sparked off from a taunting match between suspected Barisan Nasional supporters in a pickup truck stuck in a jam and PKR supporters on foot.

At the time, New Straits Times photographer Mohd Sairen Mohd Nafis was taking photographs on the back of the pickup truck.

"One of the occupants in the pickup truck then showed a clenched fist at the crowd and the crowd became aggressive," he said.

At this point, Mohd Sairen was caught in a melee and fell to the ground while Noor Kamil who was at the scene immediately climbed on top of the photographer to shield him, said another witness Harris Mohd Sani, Batu PKR’s information chief.

"Noor Kamil tried to disperse the crowd and protect the photographer who was attacked due to a misunderstanding," he said.

'No need to detain him'

nst journalist reporter photographer attacked in permatang pauh 170808In a related development, French photojournalist Halim Berbar who witnessed the attack on Mohd Seiren, told Malaysiakini that a few people were trying to stop the mob during the attack.

They included one who was being sought by the police though he was not able to confirm it was Noor Kamil.

"I could recognise him from the photos of the suspects released by the police, which were published in the newspapers," he said, adding that he would go to Penang soon to inform the police of the man’s innocence.

Halim was attacked when he tried to rescue Mohd Seiren from the mob. He had handed a memorandum to Parliament today in protest of violence against journalists.

Given the circumstances, Rozan said Noor Kamil’s arrest yesterday was unnecessary, especially after the latter had voluntarily surrendered to the police to assist investigations.

"He courageously and swiftly reported himself to the police after his name and photographed were published (in the newspapers). He should be commended, not put in a lockup," he added.

Rozan said that since Noor Kamil was willing to cooperate, he should not be arrested.

According to Star Online, Penang police have obtained a remand order to detain Noor Kamil for questioning until Sunday