Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recounting arrest, Aziz says police an 'ignorant and confused' lot

Harakahdaily, 03 May 2012   
May 3: Former law lecturer Dr Abdul Aziz Bari has recounted his experience of being arrested on April 28 during the massive Bersih 3.0 rally for electoral reforms in Kuala Lumpur.

Aziz, believed to be among the first groups of protesters arrested on that day, said policemen had indulged in an orgy of name-calling and personal insults directed at protesters and Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

"Yellow shirt! Arrest!" he recalled screams from City Hall enforcement officers and policemen at the time of his arrest near the OCBC Bank.

"Don't you know you're old! You're old, so just stay home," Aziz (far left in pic) recalled a policeman taunting him.

In another instance, a policeman shouted: "Here are Anwar Ibrahim's dogs!".

Aziz said as he was physically being dragged, the police nabbed a media photographer for trying to take a snapshot.

"One student of photography complained that his camera costing thousands of ringgit was destroyed by a policeman," said Aziz, who likened police attitude on that day to the "thuggery" displayed by UMNO offshoot Perkasa.

Aziz, whose senior academic position at the law faculty of the International Islamic University was terminated last year, said some of the lower-ranked policemen were speechless when he demanded to know which law was being invoked for his arrest.

At one point, he told a policeman to rush medical treatment to a wounded detainee, and warned that he would be held responsible for any custodial death.

"He (the policeman) turned pale and speechless. This only goes on to show that the police force is ignorant and confused and fear the UMNO-BN government. They show their courage only in groups. Perhaps they don't have access to the Internet and only take orders from their bosses," said Aziz.

Assaults and taunts aplenty

He said even at the police station, officers would taunt and physically harass detainees who were already weak and exhausted by their ordeal.

"Some would punch, kick and slap the detainees as they are led away."

Citing one incident, Aziz said a PAS Unit Amal member was seen dragged behind a police truck, before loud noises were heard. Shortly after, the Unit Amal member was dragged away, visibly much weaker, "possibly beaten to a pulp", added Aziz.

On a lighter note, Aziz said some of the arrogant police officers suddenly turned polite to him after hearing other detainees address him as 'professor'.

'No moral values'

Aziz added that the extreme fear of police officers of their bosses was once again illustrated when Bakri Zinin, the Bukit Aman CID director, arrived at the police station "greeted by the officers' salutations and foot stomping".

"My perception of the police especially after Bersih 3.0 is that they are ignorant, confused and under pressure. They also lack moral values," Aziz concluded.

But Aziz said he was least surprised.

"When even judges and officials of the Election Commission who are protected by the constitution are fearful of UMNO-BN, what  can one expect from these policemen?"

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