"I'm Not Scared," Says The Sarawak Report Editor After Arrest Warrant Issued For Her
Why the Interpol rejected Najib's 'Red Notice' request against Sarawak Report editor
Interpol has turned down Putrajaya's request for Sarawak Report editor and founder Clare Rewcastle-Brown to be put on its wanted list, the whistleblower website claimed. The site published a letter by Interpol secretary-general Jurgen Stock to Jago Russell, who heads NGO Fair Trials International. In the letter dated August 27, Interpol confirmed the Malaysian government making the request but said it was rejected on August 9.themalaysianinsider.com
A red notice is akin to an international arrest warrant where member states are informed about an individual wanted for extradition. In a letter to UK-based NGO Fair Trials International, Interpol secretary-general Jurgen Stock confirmed that his organisation had rejected Malaysia’s request.
“Whilst Interpol does not usually comment on specific cases or individuals, in light of the significant press interest in this case we can confirm that Interpol’s general secretariat did receive a red notice request for Clare Rewcastle Brown from Malaysian authorities.
It also requested that member countries not use Interpol's channels regarding the particular case. The government had sought to extradite London-based Brown to face charges in Malaysia for allegedly threatening parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, after Sarawak Report published a series of exposes on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).themalaysianinsider.com
Stock added that Interpol had also asked all of its member states not to use the organisation’s channels with regard to Rewcastle Brown’s case.
“All 190 member countries were informed of the decision and advised not to use Interpol’s channels in this matter and also requested to remove any data from their national databases,” he said.
The letter dated Aug 27 and addressed to Fair Trials International’s executive director Jago Russel, was in response to his query dated Aug 25.
Here's the reason:
The letter addressed to Jago Russell, the Director of Fair Trials stated:
“Whilst INTERPOL does not usually comment on specific cases or individuals, in the light of the significant press interest in this case we can confirm that INTERPOL’s General Secretariat did receive a Red Notice request for Clare Brown from Malaysian authorities.
In line with our standard operating procedure a review was conducted and on 9thAugust the request for the Red Notice was refused. All 190 member countries were informed of the decision and advised not to used INTERPOL’s channels in this matter and also requested to remove any data from their national databases.”
Meanwhile, Clare, who is based in London, had also come under the crosshairs of Najib, who said Malaysians should not let "white people" dictate who should be the leaders of this nation. Read here:
France-based NGO condemns Malaysia for harassing media over 1MDB
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned Malaysia for issuing warrant of arrest against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown. In a statement yesterday the France-based NGO urged Putrajaya to stop censoring media outlets that have been reporting alleged corruption involving Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“We call on the Malaysian government to drop all charges against Rewcastle-Brown, to rescind the suspension of The Edge publications and to stop blocking the Sarawak Report website,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, head of Reporters Without Borders' Asia-Pacific desk.
“It is completely unacceptable for the government to harass journalists because of their investigative coverage of matters involving the prime minister or any other Malaysian official," he said.
Malaysia was ranked 147th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
6 August: Sarawak Report editor receives protection from the UK after stalking claim
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown has been accorded police protection after she reported of being stalked and photographed in London's Hyde Park last month, The Independent reports.
“I have had to put in police reports that I have been stalked and followed. They have put a detail on my house because we have had men sitting in cars, idling. It’s absurd,” she told the British daily, which said Scotland Yard was giving her protection in London, where she lived.
She also said a “Chinese-Malaysian” looking man was outside the window “very obviously photographing us” while “pretending to be photographing a bunch of people who had just left the restaurant” when she was having tea with a former Malaysian official at a restaurant in the Sackler Gallery near Hyde Park.
Rewcastle-Brown also told the British paper that Malaysia’s arrest warrant for her for allegedly carrying out activities “detrimental to parliamentary democracy” was a tactic designed to frighten her sources.
“It’s not something they could execute against me. They have charged me under laws that don’t exist in the UK or any other normal democratic country,” she was quoted saying.
“What they have said is that I have printed material that has caused concern in the minds of the public and that is a crime, apparently,” the Sarawak-born British investigative journalist added.
After Bukit Aman's Criminal Investigations Department issued a warrant against Clare Rewcastle Brown on Tuesday, 5 August, and claimed that it was seeking Interpol's assistance to detain the UK citizen, the Sarawak Report editor said that she is unfazed by the Malaysian police's issuance of an arrest warrant against her
The arrest warrant comes in the wake of police arresting several individuals from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Attorney-General's Chambers. Among them was former MACC adviser Rashpal Singh, who supposedly met Rewcastle-Brown in London.
Those arrested have since been released but inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said more would follow and did not rule out the possibility of Bank Negara governor Zeti Akthar Aziz and MACC number Mohd Shukri Abdull being questioned as well.
Rewcastle Brown, Zeti and Mohd Shukri have been accused by certain quarters of being among those involved in a conspiracy to oust the prime minister.
Also on the list was The Edge media group owner Tong Kooi Ong. Both Sarawak Report and The Edge have published a slew of damaging articles concerning 1MDB.
Describing the arrest warrant taken by the police as being "counter-productive" for Najib's government that is seeking "to assure the world that it's a sane democracy", Clare said what she had done was "to publish information," and yet she was accused of the 'crime' of committing "an activity detrimental to democracy"
Clare added that the authorities' move was "ridiculous", saying: "It is they who are being detrimental to democracy by suppressing free speech and arresting people for questioning people in authority."
The unfazed editor further said: "Am I quaking in my shoes... actually not." She also said that the recent moves by the Malaysian government has resulted in her getting plenty of media attention and that she was "not likely" to be praising Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Clare also said that the authorities' actions merely indicates that Malaysia is on the path to become a "failed state". "If they want to cement Malaysia in the category of basket case, failed state, then this is absolutely the path to take," she said.
The warrant is in connection with offences allegedly committed under Section 124B and 124I of the Penal Code, "for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy", a law that has been widely used in recent crackdown and arrests of activists
"I am still unclear whether the agents of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are accusing me of 'forging false documents' or obtaining documents through 'criminal leakages', since they have simultaneously accused me of both in the past few days and have been rounding up all sorts of senior investigators to try and find out who might have passed me such leaks.
"They need to make up their minds about this before they bring their charges and they really ought to produce some substantive and convincing evidence of their other accusation that I am part of some international plot intent on falsely accusing the prime minister of crimes for reasons unknown," Rewcastle Brown said in a statement released in response to the warrant issued for her arrest.
"I am merely an investigative journalist who has been doing my job, by unravelling one hell of an international scandal involving people in high places and the grand larceny of public monies," she added.
So what exactly does the Section 124B and 124I states?
Section 124B states: Whoever, by any means, directly or indirectly, commits an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years.
Whereas 124I states: Any person who, by word of mouth or in writing or in any newspaper, periodical, book, circular, or other printed publication or by any other means including electronic means spreads false reports or makes false statements likely to cause public alarm, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years.
Furthermore, Clare also said that she was not plotting anything and held no vested interests in her reports on the 1MDB scandal
It is as simple as that – no plot and no vested interest. The interest of the public is my motivation and duty.
Conversely, the public are at liberty to reach their own conclusions over what has motivated the recent actions of the prime minister of Malaysia, who has spent the past few days, sacking, removing and arresting just about anybody who has been officially engaged in investigating the scandal I have been reporting on, that is, the missing billions from 1MDB.
Moreover, he has not just attacked my blog and myself, but other reputable news organisations, closing down two papers in Malaysia.