KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — The High Court today ordered the police and the government to pay RM30,000 in damages each to 29 participants of the Asia-Pacific Conference On East Timor II (Apcet II) in 1996.
Justice Datuk Wan Adnan @ Addinan Muhamad awarded the damages for the hardship that they underwent while under their 24-hour detention from Nov 9 to 10, 1996.
Wan Adnan, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, said the amount was adequate because the damages was not a reward but a compensation for the hardship that they suffered.
He said, however, that the police action in detaining them at the conference venue was not wrong as the police were carrying out their duty to maintain security and ensure that there was no trouble.
He also ordered the police and the government to pay costs and interest at eight per cent per annum from the date of the filing of the suit on Nov 9, 1998, until the full settlement of the case.
However, he did not allow the claims by the 29 for exemplary, exacerbated and special damages because they did not provide documentary proof and only gave oral evidence on that.
The 29 included Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information chief Chua Tian Chang, PKR deputy president Dr Syed Hussein Ali, Malaysiakini chief executive officer J.Premesh Chandran, Malaysian Trades Union congress (MTUC) president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamad and lawyer R. Sivarasa.
They named former Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Ismail Che' Ros, former Dang Wangi OCPD Zainal Abidin Ali, investigating officer Chief Insp Tengku Hamzah Tengku Abdullah and the government as defendants.
In their statement of claim they said they were detained by police while dispersing members of a group calling itself Barisan Bertindak Rakyat Malaysia (BBRM) who were causing a disturbance at the Apcet.
They claimed that the BBRM members had shouted obscenities at the Apcet participants who included foreigners.
They also claimed that the police had failed and neglected to act to calm the situation and defuse the commotion.
In their statement of defence, the defendants said that the detention was to calm the situation at the scene of the incident. — Bernama
Source: The Malaysian Insider