Press Statement by Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy on 13 January 2015

Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy condemns the arrest of human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen under the Sedition Act on 12 January 2015. We stress that public agencies including Malaysian Islamic Development (JAKIM) should not be immune from criticism. Every citizen has the right to question the conduct of a public agency that is funded by tax payers without being intimidated by the state. Using religion as a shield of conduct of religious authority is despicable.

Eric Paulsen, the Executive Director of Lawyer for Liberty(LFL), was arrested by 20 strong policemen in Brickfield at 930pm despite he had agreed to assist police investigation the next morning. Heavy presence of police force seemingly a security operation targeted towards an armed criminal group. Apparently, the police has abused its power to harass the prominent human rights activist at odd hours. The government continues to create a white terror atmosphere to clamp down freedom of expression of the people.

Once again, we are firm that the draconian sedition act must go and citizens’ constitutional rights must be upheld. In spite of diverse personal religious belief in our multi-ethnic society, we urge all civil society members to stand by Eric Paulsen in defense of the core value of a democratic society, freedom of speech.

Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy