Malaysia ends farcical detention of Bersih leader

Following the Malaysian authorities’ release of Maria Chin Abdullah, co-chair of the Bersih 2.0 coalition of electoral reform organizations, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

“Maria Chin’s release ahead of her scheduled hearing tomorrow comes as a massive relief to her family and supporters. Human rights defenders like her should never be arrested or detained for their activism, and her farcical pre-trial detention since 18 November was rife with abuses, including being held in solitary confinement in deplorable conditions.

We hope that Maria's release heralds a turning point in the Malaysian authorities’ cruel crackdown on activism and dissent.

Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

“We hope that her release, coming soon after famed cartoonist Zunar was freed following his arrest over the weekend, heralds a turning point in the Malaysian authorities’ cruel crackdown on activism and dissent.

“The Malaysian authorities must drop any outstanding charges against her. They should also stop using national security or other repressive laws against government critics for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”