PETALING JAYA – Amnesty International (AI) is demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of opposition lawmaker Tian Chua who was sentenced to a month in jail for “trespassing a protected area”.

Describing the incarceration of the Batu MP as an abuse of power, the rights group says Tian Chua is a prisoner of conscience who was imprisoned solely for exercising his human rights peacefully.

“His arrest, charge and imprisonment after participating in a peaceful protest is an alarming abuse of power by the authorities, and part of a pattern of repression against outspoken but peaceful critics of the government,” it said in a statement.

Tian Chua was on Friday sent to a month in prison for refusing a police order to leave the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) after being arrested for participating in the Bersih 3 rally.

He was charged under Section 4 (2) of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959 for trespassing while allegedly trying to help facilitate the release of others arrested during the rally, and was found guilty of the offence by the Sessions Court in 2014.

The PKR man withdrew his appeal before the Court of Appeal on Friday, saying his acceptance of the prison term was not an admission of wrongdoing but a mark of protest against the unjust criminal justice system.

Tian Chua still has two cases pending in court, carrying a term of imprisonment of up to three months and an additional fine of more than RM4,000, putting him at risk of being disqualified from public office and from running for the coming elections.

– Sundaily