Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP slams police in student case

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday accused the National Police Agency (NPA) of violating the human rights of a Chiayi senior high school student when he was arrested after shouting “[President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), step down.”

DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) and fellow DPP legislators told a press conference yesterday that unless the NPA offered a public apology, they would continue to pursue the matter.

When Ma stepped off of a train in Chiayi last Friday, the 18-year-old student surnamed Lin (林) shouted “Ma Ying-jeou, step down” over the line of police officers protecting Ma at the high speed rail station.

The student was taken by police to a nearby station where he was held for half an hour and had his fingerprints taken before being allowed to leave. Police told him to concentrate on his studies and to leave politics alone.

Lee said the action was tantamount to suppressing freedom of expression. The legislators chanted “Ma Ying-jeou, step down” and did the “thumbs down” sign, saying that they were willing to give up legislative immunity and challenged the police to arrest them.

Lee said that the student had been frightened and was now afraid to talk about the incident, adding that the NPA should offer an apology and that the police officers had overstepped their authority and should be disciplined.

The DPP caucus demanded that the NPA guarantee freedom of expression for anyone who criticizes Ma, and said that unless a public apology was offered, the DPP caucus would block its budget review.

When reached for comment, the NPA yesterday said the Railway Police Department brought the student back to the station to confirm his identity after he failed to present his ID card at the scene, denying that the department had arrested him.

The student had been asked to write down his personal information including ID number, birthday and home address, and was released immediately, while no interrogations were conducted, and no written statements were taken down during the period, the NPA added.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH

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